Amedeo Avogadro

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Avogadro, Amedeo


Born Aug. 9, 1776, in Turin; died there July 9, 1856. Italian physicist and chemist.

Avogadro trained in jurisprudence but then turned to physics and mathematics. He became a corresponding member of the Turin Academy of Sciences in 1804, a full member in 1819, and then director of the department of physical-mathematical sciences. He taught physics at the university lyceum between 1806 and 1819, and was professor at the University of Turin during 1820–22 and 1834–50.

Avogadro’s scientific works deal with various branches of physics and chemistry, including electricity, electrochemical theory, specific heat, capillarity, atomic volumes, and the nomenclature of chemical compounds. In 1811 he advanced the hypothesis that the molecules of simple gases consist of one or more atoms. On the basis of this hypothesis, Avogadro formulated one of the fundamental laws of ideal gas behavior and a method of determining atomic and molecular masses. His molecular hypothesis was not accepted by the majority of physicists and chemists during the first half of the 19th century. The universal constant, or the number of molecules in one mol of an ideal gas, is named after him. Avogadro was the author of a four-volume textbook of physics, the first handbook on molecular physics, which included elements of physical chemistry.


Opere scelte [precedute da un discorso storico-critico d’Icilio Guareschi]. Turin, 1911.
Fisica de’ corpi ponderabili ossia Trattato della costituzione generale dei corpi, vols. 1–4. Turin, 1837–41.