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Pierre Bayen

Pierre Bayen (1725-1798) is one of the pionner that discovered oxygen and one of the founders of modern chemistry.


He tells you his story…


Pierre Bayen


My name is Pierre Bayen, I was born in Châlons-en-Champagne on Febrary 7th 1725, I study pharmacy in Reims then in Paris before starting a military career during the Minorque expedition. I am very helpfull there, as I am considered like the manager of the military pharmacy’s cabinet that I have served for 42 years.

I give a lot of my time to my chemistry works and I am a succesful apothecary candidate and college member 1766.

In april 1774, I found out that the heat of the mercury oxide produces a gaz release and a mass loss. I collect this gaz and notice that it is slighlty denser (thicker) than the air. However, I do not read into my results.

A few months later, the British Joseph Priestley realises the same experience and publishes his results. Lavoisier whom knew about my works meets with Priestley and 7 months later, duplicates our works and he realises that the dephlogistic air was a new element that would allow the combustion. Oxygen was born. I realise at that moment my mistake for not publishing my results , I try unsucessfully to prouve paternity of that discovery, but it is too late.

I am elected member of the Science Academy and named member of the institut since its creation in 1795 until I become General Inspector of the Heath service in 1796. I die in Paris in 1798.”


Lycée Pierre BayenWhere to find him today :

  • Home Birth, 113 rue Léon Bourgeois : My father was a baker in this house from the 16th century where we still can see the distinctive dormer window located in the rooftop, from where we used to put the flour bags up to the attic.
  • Pierre Bayen High School, 22 rue du lycée 

Maison Natale

113 rue Léon Bourgeois
51000 Châlons-en-Champagne

Lycée Pierre Bayen

22 rue du Lycée
51000 Châlons-en-Champagne

48.961965 4.365813 48.960001 4.362831

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