Antoine Jérôme Balard

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Antoine Jérôme Balard
Antoine Jérôme Balard 1870s.jpg
Balard in the 1870s
Born(1802-09-30)30 September 1802
Montpellier, France
Died30 April 1876(1876-04-30) (aged 73)
Paris, France
Alma materÉcole de pharmacie de Montpellier [fr][1]
Known forDiscovery of bromine
Sophie-Elisabeth Pascal
(m. 1838; died 1875)
AwardsRoyal Medal (1830)
Scientific career
InfluencedMarcellin Berthelot

Antoine Jérôme Balard (1802–1876) was a French chemist and one of the discoverers of bromine.


Born at Montpellier, France, on 30 September 1802,[4] he started as an apothecary, but taking up teaching he acted as chemical assistant at the faculty of sciences of his native town, and then became professor of chemistry at the royal college and school of pharmacy and at the faculty of sciences.[5] In 1826 he discovered in seawater a substance which he recognized as a previously unknown element and named it bromine.[5] It had been independently prepared by Carl Jacob Löwig the previous year and the two are both regarded as having discovered the element.

This achievement brought him the reputation that secured his election as successor to Louis Jacques Thénard in the chair of chemistry at the faculty of sciences in Paris, and in 1851 he was appointed professor of chemistry at the College de France, where he had Marcellin Berthelot first as pupil, then as assistant and finally as colleague.[5] Balard also had Louis Pasteur as a pupil when Pasteur was only 26 years old.[6] It was in Balard's laboratory that Pasteur discovered the difference between "right-handed" and "left-handed" crystals while he was working with tartaric acid.[citation needed] Balard died in Paris on 30 April 1876.[5]

While the discovery of bromine and the preparation of many of its compounds was his most conspicuous piece of work, Balard was an industrious chemist on both the pure and applied sides.[7] In his researches on the bleaching compounds of chlorine he was the first to advance the view that bleaching-powder is a double compound of calcium chloride and hypochlorite; and he devoted much time to the problem of economically obtaining soda and potash from seawater, though here his efforts were nullified by the discovery of the much richer sources of supply afforded by the Stassfurt deposits. In organic chemistry he published papers on the decomposition of ammonium oxalate, with formation of oxamic acid, on amyl alcohol, on the cyanides, and on the difference in constitution between ethyl nitrate and ethyl sulfate.[5] He also helped Louis Pasteur devise the experiment[8] that would prove spontaneous generation to be false.



  1. ^ Charlot & Flahaut 2003, pp. 255–256.
  2. ^ Charlot & Flahaut 2003, pp. 257, 263.
  3. ^ a b "Antoine-Jérôme Balard" 2018.
  4. ^ Charlot & Flahaut 2003, p. 252; Chisholm 1911.
  5. ^ a b c d e Chisholm 1911.
  6. ^ "Antoine Jérôme Balard (1802–1876)". Pasteur Brewing. Archived from the original on 6 June 2017. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  7. ^ Pötsch, Fischer & Müller 1988, p. 25.
  8. ^ Egerton 2013, p. 142.


"Antoine-Jérôme Balard". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2018. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
Charlot, Colette; Flahaut, Jean (2003). "Antoine-Jérôme Balard: L'homme" [Antoine-Jérôme Balard: The Man]. Revue d'histoire de la pharmacie (in French). 51 (338): 251–264. doi:10.3406/pharm.2003.5517. ISSN 0035-2349. PMID 14606485.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Balard, Antoine Jerôme" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 239.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
This article incorporates text from this public-domain publication.
Egerton, Frank N. (2013). "History of Ecological Sciences, Part 46: From Parasitology to Germ Theory". Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America. 94 (2): 136–164. doi:10.1890/0012-9623-94.2.136. ISSN 2327-6096.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
Pötsch, Winfried R.; Fischer, Annelore; Müller, Wolfgang (1988). Lexikon bedeutender Chemiker (in German). Leipzig, Germany: VEB Bibliographisches Institut. ISBN 978-3-323-00185-5.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

Further reading[edit]

Charlot, Colette (2007). "Antoine Jérôme Balard (1802–1876), le découvreur du brome" [Antoine Jérôme Balard (1802–1876), the Discoverer of Bromium]. Revue d'histoire de la pharmacie (in French). 55 (356): 495–504. doi:10.3406/pharm.2007.6408. ISSN 0035-2349. PMID 18549189.
Wisniak, Jaime (2004). "Antoine-Jerôme Balard: The Discoverer of Bromine" (PDF). Revista CENIC Ciencias Químicas. 35 (1).[permanent dead link]