Etienne Geoffroy

From Hmolpedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Etienne Geoffroy.png

In existographies, Etienne Geoffroy (283-224 AE) (1672-1731 ACM) (IQ:180|#185) (CR:78) (LH:7) (TL:87|#121) was a French physician and chemist, noted for his 27 Aug 1718 “Table of the Different Relations [Rapports] Observed between Different Substances”, a result of a French-to-English translation of Newton's Query 31, wherein he gives the world's first affinity table, describing, in ranked rows, the different affinities observed in chemistry between different substances.


In 1718, Geoffroy, during his translation into French of Newton's Optics, rendered the logic of "Query 31", Newton's last and final query, into the so-called first law of affinity, which reads as follows:

“Whenever two substances are united that have a disposition to combine and a third is added that has a greater affinity with one of them, these two will unit, and drive out the other.”
— Etienne Geoffroy (1718), “Concerning the Different Affinities Observed in Chemistry Between Different Substances” (pg. 68), Aug 27[1]

Geoffroy, on this basis, made the following "affinity table":[2]

In the century to follow, dozens of large "affinity tables" began to be made, upon which the science of affinity chemistry began to take shape.[3]

A framed copy of Geoffroy's table, at the Galileo Museum, Florence, Italy titled: Table of Affinities Between Different Substances (Inter Differentes Substantias), shown with bottom caption: Not invented, or thought involved, but to be seen what the nature of the issue, or does (Non Fingendum Aut Exogit Andum, Sed Videndum Quid Natura Ferat; Aut Faciat):[4]


Quotes | On

The following are quotes on Geoffroy:

“The suggestion by Mayow[5] and by Newton, that the phenomena of chemical combination depend upon peculiar attractions, which exist between the minute particles of different bodies, ought perhaps to be regarded as the first successful attempt to lay the foundation of chemistry as a science, and to distinguish it from the other branches of natural philosophy. The attention given to chemistry by some of the more distinguished members of the Academy of Sciences at Paris, the delivery of lectures on this subject in the French language by the elder Lemery[6]; the curious experiments of Homberg[7] on phosphorus, metals and salts; the discovery of the remarkable effects produced upon various bodies by the burning glass; and the ingenious method conceived by Geoffroy of framing tables, which should exhibit the relative degrees of chemical affinity between different substances,—had all contributed to render the pursuits of chemistry more generally popular in France than they appear to have been at the same period in any other country of Europe.”
— John Thomson (1832), An Account of the Life, Lectures and Writings of William Cullen, Volume One (pg. 36)[8]

End matter


  1. (a) Geoffroy, Etienne. (1718). “Table of the Different Relations Observed between Different Substances: Concerning the Different Affinities Observed in Chemistry Between Different Substances” (Tableau des différentes Rapports Observées entre Différentes Substances), Memoires de l’Academie Royale des Sciences (quote, pg. 203), 202-12, Aug 27; in: A Source Book in Chemistry, 1400-1900 (editors: Henry Leicester, Herbert S. Klickstein) (pgs. 67-74). Harvard University Press.
    (b) Adler, Jeremy. (1990). "Goethe's use of chemical theory in his Elective Affinities" (§18, pgs. 263-79; Geoffroy’s law of affinity, pg. 265); in: Romanticism and the Sciences (editors: Andrew Cunningham and Nicholas Jardine). Cambridge.
    (c) Geoffroy’s law of affinity – Hmolpedia 2020.
  2. Geoffroy’s affinity table – Hmolpedia 2020.
  3. Affinity table (subdomain) – Hmolpedia 2020.
  4. Tabula Affinitatum: Inter Differentes Substantias (Table of Affinities between different substances), Galileo Museum – Florence, Italy.
  5. John Mayow – Hmolpedia 2020.
  6. Nicholas Lemery – Hmolpedia 2020.
  7. Wilhelm Homberg – Wikipedia.
  8. Thomson, John. (1832). An Account of the Life, Lectures and Writings of William Cullen, Volume One (chemistry lectures, pg. 35-; sought after, pg. 38; lecture fragment, pgs. 40-41; double elective affinities, pg. 5##-). Blackwood.

External links

Theta Delta ics T2.jpg