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Louis Bernard Guyton, baron de Morveau

Louis Bernard Guyton, baron de Morveau

1737-1816

French chemist who helped reform the system of naming chemicals. Guyton studied law at Dijon, where he practiced from 1756 to 1762. He served as an advocate-general in the Burgundy's provincial parliament, before retiring from the legal profession to devote himself to chemistry. In the 1780s, he proposed in his work Méthode de Nomenclature Chimique (Method of Chemical Nomenclature) that the existing method of naming chemicals be revised. At the time, chemicals were named by arbitrary means—for example the name of their discoverer, or their appearance. Morveau proposed that elements should be given simple names, while compound names should reflect their chemicals of origin. His recommendations were adopted throughout Europe. He also made great strides in the manufacture of gunpowder, and was the first to use chlorine as a disinfectant.

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