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Science Tuition Presents Marcellin Berthelot

Science Tuition Presents Marcellin Berthelot

Hello and welcome back to your Science Tuition. We hope you have been learning about new chemists each day in Science Tuition lessons.

Continuing with our topic on the famous chemists, today we are exploring more about Marcellin Berthelot.

Marcellin was born on 25th October 1857 and was a French chemist. He is on the map of our chemistry world for his famous Thomsen–Berthelot principle of thermochemistry. One of his contributions is that he has synthesized many organic components from the inorganic substances which in return have provided a large amount of counter-evidence to the theory of Jöns Jakob Berzelius which states that organic compound in their synthesis requires organisms.

He was considered one of the most famous chemists in the world. The basic concept behind all Berthelot’s chemical work was that all chemical phenomena depend on the action of physical forces which can be determined and measured.

Take a look at some fascinating facts about him –

Berthelot is known for synthesizing alcohols which he defined as neutral compounds containing carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Traditionally ethyl alcohol was prepared by fermenting sugars with yeast, but Berthelot showed that it could be obtained from ethylene, an organic gas. Berthelot also synthesized acetylene gas.

In 1860, he published a definitive work on the synthesis of organic chemicals in which he concluded that an almost infinite number of organic compounds could be synthesized. At that time some, scientists believed that only a living organism could produce organic chemicals, and that vegetable and animal substances were essentially different from chemicals made in the laboratory but this was proved wrong by Berthelot’s theory and showed that the same physical forces operated in both organic and inorganic chemistry.

During France’s war with Prussia in 1870-71, Berthelot was put in charge of the city’s defence committee. Berthelot later established a research farm in Paris for studying agricultural chemistry and by his experiments he discovered that some plants can absorb nitrogen from the air the same way that nitrogen compounds are formed in the laboratory.

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