Amedeo Avogadro

Amedeo Avogadro

Lorenzo Romano Amedeo Carlo Avogadro di Quaregna e di Cerreto, more popularly known as Amedeo Avogadro was born on August 9, 1776, in Turin, Italy. He was a gifted physicist and chemist who proposed the molecular theory, which is more popularly known as ‘Avogadro’s Law’. Although he earned a doctorate in ecclesiastical law, he developed a passion for studying mathematics and physics. He then gave up his career in law and pursued a career teaching natural physics at the Royal College of Vercelli. Years later, he was offered the chair of mathematical physics at the University of Turin. Avogadro conducted experiments in both physics and chemistry using mathematics as a basis for his findings. His hypothesis, known as the ‘Avogadro’s Law’ is recognized all over the world. He also published many works during his lifetime. The number 6.02214199 x 10^23 is named as Avogadro’s number to honor him for his contribution in molecular theory. Read on to know more about this great physicist and chemist.

 

Early Life & Childhood
Born into a family of lawyers, Amedeo Avogadro was born of August 9, 1776, in Turin, Italy. His father, Count Filippo Avogadro, was a well-known lawyer in Piedmont, Northern Italy. Avogadro began his college education when he was only 13 years old and graduated at the age of 16. By the time he was 20, he received his Ph.D. Though he followed the footsteps of his father to become a lawyer in 1796, he developed an interest for studying mathematics and physics along the way. This passion, turned him into a well-known physicist in his later years.
 
Career
After studying philosophy in 1789, Amedeo Avogadro graduated in jurisprudence in 1792 and earned his doctorate in ecclesiastical law in 1796. Soon after, he began his practicing law. For means of recreation, he decided to study mathematics and physics privately and he even conducted various researches on electricity. Soon, he gave up his ecclesiastical legal practice and became a member of the Academy of Sciences of Turin in 1804. Later, in 1806, he was appointed as the academy’s demonstrator as well. In 1809, he became a professor of natural philosophy at the Royal College of Vercelli. It was not until 1820, when he was conferred the chair of mathematical physics at the University of Turin. As a result of civil conflicts in Piedmont, he had to discontinue his post at the University in 1822, only to be reappointed in 1834. He worked at the University until his retirement in 1850.
 
Personal Life
In 1815, Avogadro married Felicita Mazzé of Biella. The couple had six children together. He was a simple, religious and a home-loving person, who always preferred to stay indoors in Turin. He did often not share his thoughts related to his work with renowned scientists and was therefore, isolated by many.
 
Works & Achievements
 
Publications
Avogadro published many works during his lifetime. Some of the early research works that were published were based on his physical memoirs on electricity, specific heats, dilatation of liquids by heat and so on. Many of his published works includes ‘Fisica dei corpi ponderabili, ossia Trattato della costituzione materiale de corpi’, which was published in 4 volumes. ‘Essai d'une manière de déterminer les masses relatives des molécules élémentaires des corps, et les proportions selon lesquelles elles entrent dans les combinaisons’ was another one of his published works.
 
Major Works
Avogadro gained recognition for his hypothesis, which was also known as ‘Avogadro’s Law’. He stated and published his theory in 1811. This law elucidates that at a fixed temperature and pressure, equal volumes of gases contain the same number of molecules regardless of their chemical nature and physical properties.
 
Recognition
Avogadro’s work was first recognized by a well-known scientist called Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac. The number 6.02214199 x 10^23, which is the number of molecules in one ‘mole’ is called ‘Avogadro’s number’. This number was named after him as a tribute to his significant contributions to physics and chemistry and also, for developing the ‘molecular theory’.
 
Death & Legacy
Avogadro passed away on July 9, 1856 in Turin, Italy. Avogadro gained recognition for his work only 50 years after his death.

 

AMEDEO AVOGADRO TIMELINE

1776Amedeo Avogadro was born on August 9th.
 
1789He completed his studies in philosophy.
 
1796Avogadro earned a Ph.D. in ecclesiastical law.
 
1804He joined the Academy of Science in Turin, as a corresponding member.
 
1806He was appointed as a demonstrator at the Academy of Sciences.
 
1809He was conferred the post of professor in natural philosophy at the Royal College of Vercelli.
 
1811He published his works on molecular theory.
 
1815Avogadro married Felicita Mazzé.
 
1856Avogadro passed away on July 9th.
 
*Image and text thanks to The Famous People