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Lémery, Louis

1. Dates
Born: Paris, 25 Jan. 1677
Died: Paris, 7 June 1743
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 66
2. Father
Occupation: Scientist
Nicolas Lemery, the chemist.
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: French
Career: French
Death: French
4. Education
Schooling: Paris, M.D.
First taught by his father, then educated at the College d'Harcourt, he proceeded to the Faculty of Medicine of Paris where he graduated M.D. in 1698. I assume a B.A. or its equivalent.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Chemistry
Subordinate: Anatomy, Physiology
The bulk of his scientific writings, which deal mainly with problems of chemical analysis, were published in the Mémoires de l'Académie royale des sciences. His most important observations on organic analysis are contained in four papers published in 1719-1721. His anatomical papers deal with the circulation of the blood in the fetal heart and with the origin of monaters. In addition to his Academy memoirs, he published two monographs, Traité des alimens (1702) and Dissertation sur la nourriture des os (1704).
7. Means of Support
Primary: Medicine, Government, Academia
Secondary: Patronage
In 1700 he was admitted to the Academy of sciences of Paris, as an élève first of the botanist Tournefort and then (from 1702) of his father. In 1712 he was elevated to the rank of associé.
1705, professor of pharmacy at the Faculty of Medicine.
1710-1743, physician at the Hotel Dieu.
1722-1743, royal physician, and personal physician to Louis XV's cousin, the princess of Conti. Lémery purchased the position of royal physician; however, he did function as a medical consultant to the king.
As physician to the king he was delegated to accompany the Infante, Marie-Anne-Victoire d'Espagne (this is late enough that she was a Bourbon) when she returned to Spain from France.
1715- became chemiste pensionnaire.
1707 -1710, occasionally deputized for Guy-Crescent Fagon (or perhaps Fagon named him to deputize for Berger) in the chemistry courses at the Jardin du Roi.
1731-1743, professor of chemistry at the Jardin du Roi.
1731, named "démonstrateur royale."
Hazon is explicit that Lémery practiced medicine.
8. Patronage
Type: Court Official
He was a médecin du roi from 1722, and was personal physician to Louis XV's cousin, the princess of Conti. In the princess' salon (where he was apparently more familiar than a mere physician should have been) he composed many of his scientific works. He purchased the position of royal physician; I hardly know how to handle this within the context of patronage. However, he did function as medical consultant to the king, and as royal physician he was delegated to accompany the Spanish Infante.
In Madrid the Queen of Spain honored him with a "Brevet de Médecin. Consultant de Sa Majesté."
His most important "patron" (although I do not use the word within the nuclear family) was his father, whose position at the Academy undoubtedly made Louis Lémery's rise easier. He was an élève of his father, and eventually succeeded him as pensionnaire in 1715. However, his father's influence could only have helped without the acquiescence and support of the court.
He spent a great deal of time with the Duchess of Brunswick at the Palais du Luxembourg (often from 9:00 at night until 9:00 in the morning). If this be patronage, make the most of it!
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Medical Practice
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: Académie Royal des Sciences, 1712-1743
He was sous-directeur in 1716 and 1717.
  1. Dortous de Marain, Éloge, Histoire de l'Academie royale des sciences pour l'annee, 1743-1746, pp.195-208.
  2. Nouvelle biographie générale, 30, 603-4.
  3. J.P.Contant, L'enseignement de la chimie au jardin royal des plants de Paris, Paris, 1952, pp.57-60.
  4. J.A.Hazon, ed., Notice des hommes les plus célèbres de la Faculté de Médecine en l'Université de Paris, (Paris 1778), pp. 195-8.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

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©1995 Al Van Helden
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