Auguste Laurent

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Laurent, Auguste


Born Nov. 14, 1807, in La Folie; died Apr. 15, 1853, in Paris. French organic chemist; corresponding member of the French Academy of Sciences (Paris, 1845).

Laurent graduated in 1829 from the School of Mines in Paris. He held a professorship at the University of Bordeaux from 1838 to 1846. Laurent obtained the chloro, nitro, and sulfo derivatives of naphthalene (1832-40), isolated a number of substances from coal tar, discovered phthalic acid (1836), and obtained isatin through the oxidation of indigo (1841). He supported the substitution theory proposed by J. B. A. Dumas, confirmed it experimentally, and developed it further. In 1836, Laurent began working on the formulation of a nuclear theory, according to which organic compounds were products of hydrogen substitution in hydrocarbons (“base nuclei”). This theory made possible a relatively successful classification of organic compounds. Beginning in 1846, Laurent did research designed to differentiate clearly between the concepts of atom and molecule.


Butlerov, A. M. Soch., vol. 3. Moscow, 1958. Pages 169-280.
Bykov, G. V. Istoriia klassicheskoi teorii khimicheskogo stroeniia. Moscow, 1960.
Giua, M. Istoriia khimii. Moscow, 1966. Pages 233-35, 237-40. (Translated from Italian.)
References in periodicals archive ?
Despite considerable adversity and an early death, Auguste Laurent made outstanding contributions to chemistry, some of which are described herein.
Auguste Laurent was born on September 14, 1808, in La Folie, near Langres, Haute-Maine, France, and died in Paris on April 15, 1853.
Throughout his career Auguste Laurent suffered many hardships, including in 1850 his rejection for the professorship of chemistry at the College de France despite being strongly recommended, and was alway struggling with poverty and the stress of looking after his family.
Auguste Laurent, amongst others, was attracted by this daunting challenge and devoted a great deal of innovative effort to it.
Hence, the origin of the terms 'phenyl' and 'phenyle' still in use in modern nomenclature lies in the fertile imagination of Auguste Laurent.
A fine tribute was paid to Auguste Laurent by Jean Baptiste Biot (1774-1862), professor of physics at College de France, in the introduction to Laurent's posthumous masterpiece Met bode de Chimie, which reads, in part, as follows: "Cet ouverage, rempli d'idees nouvelles .