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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 12 Issue 3 (2007) pp 195-206

Marcelin Berthelot (1827–1907), Chemist, Historian, Philosopher, and Statesman: A Retrospective View on the Centenary of His Death

Jean-Pierre Adloff and George B. Kauffman*

Honorary Professor, Université Louis Pasteur, 63 Rue Saint Urbain, Strasbourg, France F-67100,, *Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA 93740-8034,

Published online: 4 June 2007

Abstract. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the death of French chemist, philosopher, historian, and statesman Marcelin Berthelot (1827–1907), this article describes his life and career. In particular, his work on organic chemistry and syntheses, thermochemistry, physical chemistry, and agricultural chemistry are considered. His claims for priority and neglect of the work of his contemporaries made him controversial and detracted from his international renown, which he took great pains to foster. The unusual circumstances of his death on the same day as that of his wife are discussed.

Key Words: Chemistry and History; organic chemistry; organic syntheses; thermochemistry; physical chemistry; agricultural chemistry; explosive chemistry; science and politics; philosophy; priority polemics; Nobel Prize

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (647 KB) HTML format

Issue date: June 1, 2007

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