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Louis Bernard Guyton de Morveau

4 January 2017

The French chemist proposed the modern system for naming chemical compounds.

Louis Bernard Guyton de Morveau

Born on 4 January 1737 in Dijon, France, chemist Louis Bernard Guyton de Morveauis was the driving force behind the modern system of chemical nomenclature. Guyton trained as a lawyer but became interested in chemistry and learned the subject through textbooks and a home laboratory. In the late 18th century there was no organized system for naming compounds; newly identified substances were often named after who discovered them or where they were discovered. Guyton proposed that the names of compounds reflect the substances’ constituent parts. In 1787 he and three French colleagues published the book Method of Chemical Nomenclature, which introduced a variety of familiar chemical names, such as sulfuric acid. Guyston was later chosen to write the chemistry section of the Encyclopédie méthodique.

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