HAUY, father of Crystallography
The temporary exhibition, on view from 5 July to 31 October 2022 in the showcases of MAGMAX, offers visitors the exclusive opportunity to admire manuscripts by the great scientist as well as crystallographic models and samples from his personal collection.
Renè Just Hauy was born in 1743 in Saint-Just-en-Chausseè, a small town in the Upper France region from a family of humble origins and, after receiving a Classical education, was ordained Abbot in 1770. He teaches at the Cardinal Lemoine College in Paris and develops a passion for mineralogy by attending professor Daubenton’s lectures. His excellent works on the study of crystalline morphology allow him to become a member of the Academy of Sciences at the age of fifty. Although sentenced to the guillotine during the French Revolution, just the night before his execution, he obtains freedom which unfortunately he will not be able to extend to his friend Lavoisier as well. He received the position of Professor of Physics and Mineralogy at the Ecole des Mines in Paris, which he held for 27 years, until his death in 1822. He also managed the Museum of Mineralogy, enriching it with over 12,000 samples. Thanks to his ingenious intuitions on the crystalline structure and his accurate goniometric measurements of crystals, he can rightfully be considered the founder of Crystallography, a new discipline which, together with the contemporary affirmation of Lavoisier’s Chemistry, will form the solid foundation of modern mineralogical science.