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Studies in the Life and Work of Jean Baptiste Andre Dumas (1800-1884): The Period up to 1850.

Klosterman, Leo Jerome (1976) Studies in the Life and Work of Jean Baptiste Andre Dumas (1800-1884): The Period up to 1850. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94464) (KAR id:94464)


Jean Baptiste Dumas (1800-188U) was an outstanding experimental chemist who gave a sense of direction to the study of organic chemistry in the second quarter of the 19th century. He did this by framing hypotheses boldly and fruitfully, believing in the simplicity of nature's fundamental relationships and a need for classification as a means of emphasising this. Stress has been placed on the important period of, Dumas' formation in Geneva, his research in physiology and the transition period in Paris where he was drawn to chemical research by appointments at the Ecole Polytechnique and the Athenee.

An interest in industrial chemistry led to his textbook in applied chemistry and to the founding of an industrial journal and school. In the College de France he gave an influential course on chemical philosophy. His election to the Academy in 1832 was followed by appointments to the Faculty of Sciences and the Faculty of Medicine, where he gained a reputation as an outstanding professor of chemistry, and a guide for research students, both French and foreign.

His practical contributions to chemistry included procedures for measuring vapour densities, organic nitrogen analysis and accurate determination of atomic weights, to which he was led by Prout's hypothesis. His unique combination of creative intuition, sound judgment, a strong reliance on experimental data and a virtually limitless capacity for work made possible his seminal contributions to the theory of organic chemistry: ethers, amides, substitution, types, a law of fat acids. New compounds were discovered as a result, but more important, he laid the foundations for more general modes of classification, the homologues and types of one of his students, Gerhardt. Dumas was the first to make extensive and successful use of chemical formulae and equations to explain reactions in organic chemistry.

His influence on classification of the elements and atomic theory was profound. This thesis provides the necessary documentation to integrate the various aspects of Dumas' life and work up to 1850, after which he became increasingly involved in national politics and administration.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94464
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: D History General and Old World
Q Science
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2023 15:16 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2023 15:16 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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