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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

This Day in Science History - February 13 - Étienne Geoffroy

February 13th is Étienne François Geoffroy's birthday. Geoffroy was a French physician and chemist who was the first to arrange the known elements into a table based on their chemical affinity to each other.

Anyone who has ever mixed two items together knows some things combine better than others. In chemistry, two different chemical species' affinity is a property that shows how likely a chemical reaction will occur when mixed. Reagents with strong affinity are more likely to react with each other than reagents with little affinity to each other. Geoffroy's table had a series of reagents across the top with other reagents with high affinity with these elements listed below. This table became a standard table for 18th Century chemists until the end of the century when it was shown the amount of a reagent drove the reaction.

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