In 1771 Marie Anne Pierrette Paulze was a lively girl of 13. When her mother passed away, the young woman left a convent school to help her father as a hostess. Her vivacity attracted a friend of the family, the 50-year-old Count d'Amerval. A remarkable letter survives in Cornell's Lavoisier collection in which Marie Anne's father diplomatically yet directly declines the Count's proposal.
Another suitor was much more welcome. Antoine Laurent Lavoisier had a law degree, but his passion was for science. As a young man, he impressed the French scientific establishment with his geological and chemical research. Lavoisier had just bought a half share in the Ferme Générale—the ancien régime's version of what the Internal Revenue Service might be heading for in some conservative dream—a private company collecting taxes for the crown. Marie Anne's father was one of the leading "Farmers."
Lavoisier gave the first correct accounts of burning, respiration and rusting. In bringing about the Chemical Revolution, he properly defined the elements (though he thought heat was one), showed that water was a compound and air a mixture, and proposed a new systematic nomenclature for chemistry. In the remainder of his time, he dealt with one practical problem after another—he debunked mesmerism, thought about contagious disease in cities, ensured that young America got its gunpowder, adjudicated disputes on ballooning and, after the revolution, participated in the work on the metric system. Citizen Lavoisier's work for the French Republic did not save him from the Jacobin terror. On May 8, 1794, he and his father-in-law were executed, along with 26 other Farmers General. ~Quoted from AMERICAN SCIENTIST (http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/mme-lavoisier/2)
Mrs. Tricia Hozie is a junior high and high school science teacher at Pinnacle Prep School in Texas.