Pierre Eugene Marcellin Berthelot, a French chemist, born in Paris, Oct. 25, 1827. He was an assistant of Balard in the college de France, and afterward professor of organic chemistry in the school of pharmacy; and in 1864 a chair of organic chemistry in the college de France was created for him. M. Berthelot was especially instructed to advance his own ideas and treat at length of his own discoveries in his lectures. In 1854 he introduced the theory of polyatomic alcohols. This theory conducted him to the synthesis of natural fatty bodies, and thereby to a knowledge of their true constitution. By it he defined also the constitution of the sugars, and was able to understand that also of the fixed principles of vegetable tissues, although he has not yet produced these latter by synthesis.' He has published La chimie organique fondu sur la synthese (1860) and Legons sur les methodes generates de synthese en chimie organique (1864). Perhaps his most celebrated researches are those connected with the discovery of acetylene and the synthesis of alcohol.
His chief glory is that by his own experiments he has successfully overthrown the famous dogma of Berzelius and Gerhardt, "that chemical forces alone are not able to effect organic synthesis, and that when such metamorphoses occur they are due to the agency of vital force."