Antoine Lavoisier, French chemist, 1788.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving after the oil painting by Jacques-Louis David. Born in France, Lavoisier (1743-1794), is considered to be the founder of the modern science of chemistry, researching into gunpowder and the modern method of naming chemical compounds. His major work was the 'Traite elementaire de Chimies' (1789), which contained many of the ideas that set chemistry on its modern path. He was also a member of the commision which devised the metric system and is shown in this engraving seated at his desk with his wife by his side.