Who Is the Father of Chemistry?

Why It's Hard to Name the Father of Chemistry

Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier
Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier is known as the Father of Modern Chemistry. SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

Who is the Father of Chemistry? Here is a look at the best answers to this question and the reasons why each of these people may be considered to be the Father of Chemistry.

Father of Chemistry: Most Common Answer

If you are asked to identify the Father of Chemistry for a homework assignment, your best answer probably is Antoine Lavoisier. Lavoisier wrote the book Elements of Chemistry (1787). He compiled the first complete (at that time) list of elements, discovered and named oxygen and hydrogen, helped develop the metric system, helped revise and standardize chemical nomenclature and discovered that matter retains its mass even when it changes forms.

Another popular choice for the title of Father of Chemistry is Jabir ibn Hayyan, a Persian alchemist living around 800 AD who applied scientific principles to his studies.

Other people sometimes known as the Father of Modern Chemistry are Robert Boyle, Jöns Berzelius and John Dalton.

Other "Father of Chemistry" Scientists

Other scientists are called the Father of Chemistry or are noted in specific fields of chemistry:

Father of Chemistry

SubjectNameReason 
Father of Early Chemistry
Father of Chemistry
Jabir ibn Hayyan (Geber)Introduced the experimental method to alchemy, circa 815.
Father of Modern ChemistryAntoine LavoisierBook: Elements of Chemistry (1787)
Father of Modern ChemistryRobert BoyleBook: The Sceptical Chymist (1661)
Father of Modern ChemistryJöns Berzeliusdeveloped chemical nomenclature in the 1800s
Father of Modern ChemistryJohn Daltonrevived atomic theory
Father of Early Atomic TheoryDemocritusfounded atomism in cosmology
Father of Atomic Theory
Father of Modern Atomic Theory
John Daltonfirst to propose the atom as a building block of matter
Father of Modern Atomic TheoryFather Roger Boscovichdescribed what came to be known as modern atomic theory, about a century before others formalized the theory
Father of Nuclear ChemistryOtto HahnBook: Applied Radiochemistry (1936)
first person to split the atom (1938)
Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering nuclear fission (1944)
Father of the Periodic TableDmitri Mendeleevarranged all the known elements in order of increasing atomic weight, according to periodic properties (1869)
Father of Physical ChemistryHermann von Helmholtzfor his theories on thermodynamics, conservation of energy and electrodynamics
Father of Physical Chemistry
Founder of Chemical Thermodynamics
Willard Gibbspublished the first unified body of theorems describing thermodynamics
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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Who Is the Father of Chemistry?" ThoughtCo, Apr. 6, 2017, thoughtco.com/father-of-chemistry-607744. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2017, April 6). Who Is the Father of Chemistry? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/father-of-chemistry-607744 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Who Is the Father of Chemistry?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/father-of-chemistry-607744 (accessed November 20, 2017).