LEMERY Nicolas - France - 1645 - 1715

LEMERY Nicolas Lemery studied chemistry and pharmacy at Rouen, his native city, and furthered his knowledge in several pharmacy laboratories in France. He taught pharmacology, and, thanks to his competence, practiced medicine even before obtaining his degree in the discipline. Persecuted for religious reasons, he was readmitted into the Academy of Sciences in 1699. He traveled at length throughout France, giving lectures and establishing a pharmacological workshop that became a meeting center for all of the most important scholars and a laboratory for excellent innovative preparations.

Main work: Trattato sulle droghe semplici, Venezia, Hertz, 1737. Farmacopea Universale, Venezia, 1742.

Botanical interests: Lemery’s great merit was his ability to use a simple and understandable language to teach chemistry, which, until that time, was known by few and wrapped in an aura of mystery. An example of this ability is the Cours de chimie of 1675, which enjoyed tremendous success and would remain a basic text for 100 years, reprinted over 20 times and in many languages. In his writings he takes into consideration the doctrine of Paracelsus and of the alchemists, but distances himself from what he considers to be "metaphysical and useless." He wrote an important treatise on antimony, but reached his greatest popularity with the "Traite des drogues." This work contains 25 plates on copper of good iconographic quality depicting the most important botanical species. His principal works are: Traite des drogues simples (1698), Pharmacopeè universale (1742), Cours de chimie (1675).