Marie-Anne Paulze

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(PD) Image: Marie-Anne Paulze
Experiments on human respiration. Drawing by Marie-Anne Paulze, who is seen drawing at the small table on the right.

Marie-Anne Pierriette Paulze (January 20, 1758–February 10, 1836) was the wife of the great 18th century chemist Antoine Lavoisier, whom she married on December 16, 1771 when she was not yet fourteen years old. They had no children. Marie-Anne is the best known of Lavoisier's many helpmates. She was a lively, sensible lady, well versed in her husband's chemical theories, which she could discuss with the greatest scientists of the time. Her salon was the gathering place for scientists, not only from France but from throughout Europe. She translated several English language works needed by her husband—who did not know English—including the writings of Joseph Priestley and Henry Cavendish, as well as Richard Kirwan's Essay on Phlogiston, in which she pointed out scientific errors in the text. Madame Lavoisier prepared the plates for the illustrations in her husband's magnum opus Traité élémentaire de Chemie and edited and published her husband's posthumous Mémoires de Physique et de Chimique. She also took an active part in Lavoisier's experiments on the chemical nature of respiration. Without her aid, much information about her husband's revolutionary ideas might have been lost. Eleven years after the decapitation of her husband she married Count Rumford on October 24, 1805. They divorced in 1809.

References

  • C. T. Eagle and J. Sloan, Marie Anne Paulze Lavoisier: The Mother of Modern Chemistry, The Chemical Educator vol. 3 (1998) Online
  • D. I. Duveen, Madame Lavoisier, Chymia: Annual Studies in the History of Chemistry, vol. 4, pp. 13-29 (1953)