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Michel-Eugene Chevreul

Michel-Eugene Chevreul (August 31, 1786 - April 9, 1889) was an important French chemist whose work with fatty acids led to early applications in the fields of art and science. He is credited with discovering margarine and designing an early form of soap made from animal fats and salt.

Interestingly, Chevreul was also influential in the world of art. After being named director of Gobelin Tapestry Works in Paris, and recieved many complaints about the dyes being used there. It was in fact the yarn that caused the problem. A yarns color was influenced by other sorrounding yarns. This led to a concept known as simultanious contrast.

Chevreul also discovered and named olein[?], the liquid part of any fat, and stearin[?], a white substance found in the solid parts of most animal and vegetable fats.

A gold medal was minted for the occasion of Chevreul's 100th birthday in 1886, and it was celebrated as a national event. Chevreul recieved letters of commondation from many heads of state and monarchs, including Queen Victoria. Overall, it was a fitting tribute to a man who lived through the entire French Revolution and lived to see the unveiling of the Eiffel tower.

Ironically, Chevreul began to study the effects of ageing on the human body shortly before his death at the grand age of 102.



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