The son of a wealthy Parisian lawyer, Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier completed a law degree in accordance with family wishes. He was born in Paris on August 26, 1743. He attended the College Mazarin from 1754 to 1761, studying Chemistry, botany, astronomy, and mathematics. His first chemical publication appeared in 1764. In 1767 he worked on a geological survey of Alsace and Lorraine. His real interest however was in science, which he pursued with a passion while leading a full public life. On the basis of his earliest scientific work, mostly in geology, he was elected in 1768 "at the early age of twenty-five "to the Academy of Sciences, France's most elite scientific society. In the same year he bought into the .
, the private corporation that collected taxes for the Crown on a profit-and-loss basis. In 1775, Lavoisier was appointed a commissioner of the Royal Gunpowder and Saltpeter Administration and took up residence in the Paris Arsenal. There he equipped a fine laboratory, which attracted young chemist from all over Europe to learn about the "Chemical Revolution- then in progress. He meanwhile succeeded in producing more and better gunpowder by increasing the supply and ensuring the purity of the constituents "saltpeter (sodium nitrate) , sulfur, and charcoal "as well as improving the methods of granulating the powder. Among his contributions to chemistry associated with his method were the understanding of combustion and respiration as caused by chemical reactions with the part of the part of the air he called "oxygen- and his definitive proof by composition and decomposition that water is made up of oxygen and hydrogen. His giving new names to of which are still used today "was an important means of forwarding the Chemical Revolution, because these terms expressed the theory behind them. A political and social liberal, Lavoisier took an active part in the events leading to the French Revolution, and in its early years he drew up plans and reports advocating many reforms, including the establishment of the metric system of weights and measures.