26 Feb 1807-31 May 1867
Théophile-Jules Pelouze was born in Valognes, a little town in the department of Manche in France, but served from 1825 in several pharmacies in Paris before being appointed to the hospital pharmacy at the Salpêtrière in Paris. His father was director in the glass manufactory of Saint Gobain, in the well-known works of Creusot and of a gas-works in Paris. He published many books on various industrial technologies from 1825 to 1841.
Rapidly, Pelouze directed his attention to pure chemistry and he became a student and laboratory assistant of JL Gay-Lussac (1827-1830) and, after a short period in Lille (1830) where he was chosen associate professor of chemistry by Kuhlmann. He get a position of assayer at the Paris mint (1833) and reached the position of President of the "Commision des Monnaies et Médailles" in 1848. Pelouze was elected to the Académie des Sciences in 1837, appointed professor of chemistry at the Ecole Polytechnique (1831-1847) and at the Collège de France (1831-1850). In 1849, he was elected as a member of the Municipal Council of the town of Paris.
He was rapidly a famous experimental chemist in studying sallicin (1830) with Gay-Lussac, beetroot sugar fermentation (1831) with F Kuhlmann, the synthesis of formic acid, hydrocyanic acid, the discovery of ethyl cyanide (1834), potassium dinitrosulfite (1835) and nitrocellulose (1838), the prototype of gun-cotton. Among lipid related substances he studied camphor (1840), butyrin (1834) and glycerophosphoric acid (1845). He collaborated with Claude Bernard in working on curare (1850).
Pelouze founded in 1848 in Paris (rue Dauphine) an important private school of chemistry where numerous students were trained (Berthelot was instructor and made his first investigations in this school) and in cooperation with other laboratories as that of Claude Bernard and several other chemists.
In the field of lipid chemistry, Pelouze remained the scientist who described for the first time the synthesis of a simple triglyceride molecule, tributyrin. This lipid may be considered the first artificial neutral fat ever made.
Pelouze published about 90 papers but his major work remains the "Traité de chimie générale" in 3 volumes, Paris 1848-1850.
Mémoire sur l'acide butyrique;
L'acide butyrique a
été découvert en 1814, parmi les produits de la saponification du
beurre, par M. Chevreul, qui en a décrit l'histoire avec beaucoup de
soin dans son ouvrage sur les corps gras d'origine animale. Depuis cette
époque, l'acide butyrique n'a été l'objet d'aucun travail de quelque
étendue, ce qu'il faut sans doute attribuer à la longueur et à la
difficulté de sa préparation qui sont telles, en effet, que l'acide
butyrique est encore aujourd'hui l'une des substances que l'on voit le
plus rarement dans les laboratoires de chimie.