Gay-Lussac was born at St Leonard, in the department of Limoges. He received his early education at home and in 1794 was sent to Paris to prepare for the Ecole Polytechnique after his father was arrested, into which he was admitted at the end of 1797. Three years later he was transferred to the Ecole des Ponts et Chausses, and shortly afterwards was assigned to C. L. Berthollet. In 1802 he was appointed demonstrator to A. F. Fourcroy at the Ecole Polytechnique, where subsequently (1809) he became professor of chemistry. From 1808 to 1832 he was professor of physics at the Sorbonne, a post which he only resigned for the chair of chemistry at the Jardin des Plantes. In 1831 he was elected to represent Haute Vienne in the chamber of deputies, and in 1839 he entered the chamber of peers.
In 1802, Gay-Lussac first formulated the law that a gas expands linearly with a fixed pressure and rising temperature (usually better known as Charles's Law).
Born on December 6, 1778, Joseph was the eldest of five children.
His father, Antoine Gay, was a lawyer who, to distinguish himself from other people in the Limoges region with the last name of Gay, used the surname Gay-Lussac from the name of some family property near St Leonard(4)
The French Revolution affected many of what were to become the French scientific elite.
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