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Beguin, Jean

1. Dates
Born: Lorraine, ca. 1550
Died: France, ca. 1620
Dateinfo: Both Dates Uncertain
Lifespan: 70
2. Father
Occupation: Little Is Known Of His Family
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: Lorraine, at that time Germanic
Career: France
Death: France
4. Education
Schooling: No University
He seems to have received a good classical education.
He mentions having spent some time in Germany and having visited the mines of Hungary (in 1604) and Schemnitz (in 1611).
There is no mention of university study.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic (assumed)
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Pharmacology
Subordinate: Alchemy
Beguin published the Tyrocinium chymicum in 1610. Most of the book was concerned with chemical operations rather than with theory, and he emphasized that the most effective therapy combined Galenic and Paracelsian remedies. Beguin was credited with the first mention of acetone, which he called "the burning spirit of Saturn." The Tyrocinium chymicum was immensely popular through the 17th century. It was translated into the major European languages and issued in many editions. It set the pattern for the notable series of French chemical textbook in the later part of the century.
Beguin wrote to Barth (1613) that he was engaged with transmutation.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Apothecary, Schoolmastering
Secondary: Patronage
He worked in his laboratory and gave public lectures on the preparation of the new chemical medicaments of Quercetanus and others.
In a letter written in 1613 to Barth, he said he had earned 700 crowms by his skill, and could hardly earn more by teaching.
He was almoner to the king (Henry IV) about 1608.
8. Patronage
Types: Court Official, Physician
The influence of the royal physician, Jean Ribit, and of Turquet de Mayerne enabled him to obtain permission to set up a laboratory and give public lectures.
King Henry IV. He was the king's almoner.
9. Technological Involvement
Types: Chemistry, Pharmacology
He prepared chemicals and medicines.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
Jeremias Barth, Begiun's pupil, encouraged him to publish a "little book". As a result, Begiun published his famous Tyrocinium chymicum.
  1. T.S.Patterson,"Jean Begiun and his Tyrocinum chymicum," Annals of Science, 2 (1937), pp.243-498. Q1 .A7
  2. R.P.Multhauf,"Libavius and Beguin", in E. Farber, ed., Great Chemists, New York-London, 1961, pp.65-74. QD21 .F21
  3. A.Kent and O.Hannaway,"Some consideration on Begiun and Libavius", Annals of Science, 16 (1960), pp. 241-250. Q1 .A7
  4. Nouvelle biographie générale, 5, 160.
  5. Not in Dictionnaire de biographie française.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

©1995 Al Van Helden
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