|Vauquelin, Louis Nicolas (1763-1829)|
| French chemist who worked mainly
in the inorganic field, analysing minerals. He discovered the elements chromium
(1797) and beryllium.
Vauquelin was born in Saint-André d'Héberôt, Calvados, and was apprenticed to an apothecary. Moving to Paris, he became a laboratory assistant at the Jardin du Roi and was befriended by a professor of chemistry. In 1791 he was made a member of the Academy of Sciences and from that time he helped to edit the journal Annales de Chimie, although he left the country for a while during the height of the French Revolution. On his return in 1794 he became professor of chemistry at the Ecole des Mines in Paris, and in 1802 was appointed assayer to the Mint. From 1809 he was professor at the University of Paris. He was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1828.
In organic chemistry, Vauquelin also made some significant discoveries. In 1806, working with asparagus, he isolated the amino acid aspargine, the first one to be discovered. He also discovered pectin and malic acid in apples, and isolated camphoric acid and quinic acid.