Jean-Baptiste Dumas

1800 (Alès, France) – 1884 (Cannes)

Dumas did important work in organic chemistry, and on molecular and atomic weights. De Candolle, the warmly supportive de la Rive and Saussure were senior members of Geneva’s scientific community, the first two also teaching him. Humboldt encouraged him to move to Paris, where he taught Thénard’s course before succeeding him. Wöhler brought him a pound of platinum, Thomson worked under him, and Kekulé attended his lectures and befriended him. Liebig, not wholly a rival, also visited, and wrote an article with him. A famously inspiring teacher, Dumas persuaded his student Pasteur (a lifelong friend) to give up art for chemistry.