Réaumur, René Antoine Ferchault de

Réaumur, René Antoine Ferchault de

(rā`əmyo͝or, Fr. rənā` äNtwän` fĕrshō` də rāōmür`), 1683–1757, French physicist and naturalist. He invented an alcohol thermometer (1731) and the Réaumur temperature scale, in which the freezing point of water is 0° and the boiling point 80°. In 1710 he directed the official description of arts and trades in France. He investigated gold-bearing rivers, turquoise mines, and forests. He did research on the composition of Chinese porcelain, which led him to develop an opaque glass, and on the composition and manufacture of iron and steel, including a means of tinning iron. As a naturalist he is best known for his exhaustive study of insects (6 vol., 1734–42; a 7th vol., part of the original manuscript, appeared in 1928); he also studied regeneration in crayfish and showed corals to be animals, not plants.
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Réaumur, René Antoine Ferchault De


Born Feb. 28, 1683, in La Rochelle; died Oct. 17, 1757, in Chateau La Bermondière, Maine. French naturalist. Member of the Paris Academy of Sciences (1708).

Reaumur’s chief works were devoted to physics and zoology. In 1730, Réaumur described an alcohol thermometer that he had invented, the scale of which was determined by the boiling and freezing points of water and was divided into 80 degrees. In the field of zoology he shed light on problems of the biology of social insects and aphids and on the relationship between insects and plants; he clarified the functions of the various members of a bee colony.


Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire des insectes, vols. 1–6. Paris, 1734–42.
“Règles pour construire les thermomètres, dont les degrés soient comparables.” In Histoire de l’Académie royale de sciences, Année 1730: Avec les mémoires de mathématique et de physique pour la même année. Paris, 1732.


Lunkevich, V. V. Ot Geraklita do Darvina, 2nd ed., vol. 2. Moscow, 1960.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.