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Hauy, Rene Just

HAUY, RENE JUST (1743-1822), French mineralogist, commonly styled the Abbe Haiiy, from being an honorary canon of Notre Dame, was born at St Just, in the department of Oise, on the 28th of February 1743. His parents were in a humble rank of life, and were only enabled by the kindness of friends to send their son to the college of Navarre and afterwards to that of Lemoine. Becoming one of the teachers at the latter, he began to devote his leisure hours to the study of botany ; but an accident directed his attention to another field in natural history. Happening to let fall a specimen of calcareous spar belonging to a friend, he was led by examination of the fragments to make experiments which resulted in the statement of the geometrical law of crystallization associated with his name (see CRYSTALLOGRAPHY). The value of this discovery, the mathematical theory of which is given by Haiiy in his Traite de mineralogie, was immediately recognized, and when communicated to the Academy, it secured for its author a place in that society. Haiiy's name is also known for the observations he made in pyro-electricity. When the Revolution broke out, he was thrown into prison, and his life was even in danger, when he was saved by the intercession of E. Geoffrey Saint-Hilaire. In 1802, under Napoleon, he became professor of mineralogy at the museum of natural history, but after 1814 he was deprived of his appointments by the government of the Restoration. His latter days were consequently clouded by poverty, but the courage and high moral qualities which had helped him forward in his youth did not desert him in his old age; and he lived cheerful and respected till his death at Paris on the 3rd of June 1822.

The following are his principal works: Essai d'une theorie sur la structure des cristaux (1784); Exposition raisonnee de la theorie de I'eleclricM et du magnetisme, d'apres les principes d'Aepinus (1787); De la structure consideree comme caractere distinctif des mineraux (1793); Exposition abregee de la theorie de la structure des cristaux (1793); Extrait d'un traite elementaire de mineralogie (1797); Traite de mineralogit (4 vols., 1801); Traite elementaire de physique (2 vols., 1803, 1806); Tableau comparatif des resultats de la cristallographie, et de I'analyse chimique relativement & la classification des mineraux (1809); Trnite des pierres precieuses (1817); Traite de cristallographie (2 vols., 1822). He also contributed papers, of which loo are enumerated in the Royal Society's catalogue, to various scientific journals, especially the Journal de physique and the Annals du Museum d'Histoire Naturelle.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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