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Henri-Victor Régnault Edit Profile

chemist , photographer , physicist

Henri Victor Regnault was a French chemist and physicist best known for his careful measurements of the thermal properties of gases.


Henri-Victor Régnault was born in 1810 in Aachen, Germany. He moved to Paris at the age of eight, following the death of his parents.


Régnault became professor of chemistry successively at the University of Lyons, the Ecole Polytechnique (1840) and the Collège de France (1841). From 1854 until 1871 he was director of the porcelain factory at Sèvres. Régnault discovered the developing action of pyrogallic acid. He also designed apparatus for taking a large number of physical measurements - such as an air thermometer that determined the absolute expansion of mercury - and he redetermined the specific heats of many solids, liquids and gases.

The photographer used paper negatives to produce his portraits and landscapes, and Regnault's "choice of subject matter and his marvelous use of light bear evidence of a certain influence of English romanticism. . . .


  • PUBLICATIONS Correspondance de Henri Régnault, Arthur Duparc, 1904 (Fasquelle: Pans); Das Ausdehnungsgesetz der Gase, 1894 (Engelmann: Leipzig, Germany); Chemical Reports and Memoirs, 1848.


A founding member of both the Société Héliographique (1851) and the Société Française de Photographie, he served as the latter's first president until 1868. He was also president of the Academy of Sciences in Paris.


Quotes from others about the person

  • “His works suggest a synthesis of French and English tastes in landscape" (French Primitive Photography). Weston Naef has written (After Daguerre): "Régnault took advantage of the camera's ability to combine infinite detail into a single, cohesive image."”


Henri Régnault

Henri Régnault was a noted historical painter (d. 1870 or 1871).


Henri-Victor Régnault learned photography from Blanquart-Evrard.

Justus von Liebig

Henri-Victor Régnault studied chemistry with Justus von Liebig in Giessen, Germany.