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Historical Figure in Chemistry: Joseph Louis Gay Lussac - Essay Example

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Course: Date: Historical Figure in Chemistry: Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac Introduction Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac was involved in numerous major chemical advancements at the start of the 19th Century. Some of the discovery made by Gay-Lussac is the development of relationship between pressure and temperature which came to be known as the gas law…
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Historical Figure in Chemistry: Joseph Louis Gay Lussac
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"Historical Figure in Chemistry: Joseph Louis Gay Lussac"

Download file to see previous pages This paper will therefore make a study of the life and the contributions of Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac. Life of Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac Gay-Lussac was born in 1778, a decade to the French Revolution in France to a rich lawyer (World of Scientific Discovery on Joseph-Louis Gay-Lussac: bookrags.com). He grew during the Chemical and was taught by a private tutor. However, during the social and political upheavals resulting from French Revolutions; his father was imprisoned and the tutor escaped. Despite the interruptions, Gay-Lussac was admitted to Ecole Polytechnique. The institution had been opened to complement the efforts the military efforts participating in the Revolution by developing scientific and technical skills in the military. At this institution, he met other scientists who became his mentors such as Pierre Simon de Laplace and Claude Louis Berthelot. It is in this institution that Gay-Lussac began his career as a professor of Physics (Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac: Chemical Heritage Foundation.com). Gay-Lussac’s interest in quantitative research on the properties of gases had inspired other studies by scientist such as Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier. At a tender age of 24 Gay-Lussac made his first breakthrough when he made a discovery of the behavior of gases when heated (Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac). The law published in 1802 went further to describe that in addition to gases expanding in volume when heated, all gases would expand by an equal amount when subjected to a similar rise in temperature. This law is presently referred to as the Gay-Lussac’s law or Charles’ law (Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac). In addition to being credited to Gay-Lussac, this law is credited to Jacques Charles who had come up with almost similar conclusion some 15 years earlier although he never published his findings. This law was useful in subsequent discoveries by other chemist such as Avogadro who used it to describe that equal volumes of gases at the same pressure and temperature contain an equal number of molecules. Gay-Lussac was a daring scientist and in 1804 he severally ascended to over 7,000 meters above the sea level in hydrogen-filled balloons. This was not achieved by any other scientist in the next fifty and when in space, he studied other properties of gases. It is in these ascents that Gay-Lussac took tests of the composition of air and the earth’s magnetic force at different attitudes. These tests showed that the composition of air and the earth’s magnetic force is equal at high attitudes as they are on the ground level (World of Scientific Discovery on Joseph-Louis Gay-Lussac). In 1808, Gay-Lussac following his own experiments and those conducted by others; he announced that ‘gases in constant pressure and temperature react in simple numerical proportions by volume and the resulting products bear a simple proportion by volume to the volumes of the reactants’ (Andraos 34). The law for instance explains that one part of oxygen react with two parts of hydrogen to form water. Consequently, this law came to be known as the ‘’law of combining volumes’’ (Andraos 34). With news that Sir Humphry Davy was discovering new elements through use of electricity to split compounds, Napoleon Bonaparte founded projects to make bigger batteries for Gay-Lussac and his ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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