Helene Metzger

Hélène Metzger ( 26 of August of 1889 – 7 of March of 1944 ) was a philosopher of the science , chemistry and French scientific historian . 1 His writings deal mainly with the history of chemistry . Due to its Jewish origin, it was deported during the Second World War to the concentration camp of Auschwitz , where it died.


Hélène Metzger was born Hélène Bruhl in 1889 near Paris . His father, Paul Bruhl came from a family of diamond and gemstone dealers, possibly the source of interest in Metzger crystallography . His uncle Lucien Lévy-Bruhl was an influential French anthropologist . His mother, Eugénie Emilie, died when her daughter was only two years old. His father married again, but Metzger never formed a good relationship with his stepmother. He decided to pursue an education in spite of the paternal opposition and attended the Sorbonne , where he obtained a diploma for his study of the structure of lithium chlorate . In 1913 he married Paul Metger, who died in a battle during the First World War . 2

In 1918 he obtained a doctorate. His thesis was on the history of crystallography. Since then , his work focused on the history of chemistry in France, particularly in the centuries XVII and XVIII . After the German occupation of Paris he moved to Lyons , where he began a study on monotheism in Judaism which attracted the attention of the Vichy regime on its Jewish origin. On February 8, 1944 she was arrested and deported posterorimente Auschwitz where he died in the gas chamber on March 10, 1944. 2

Work and legacy

He published nine books, thirty-six articles and numerous reports. 3 In his writings on the history of chemistry he moves away from the best known figures and explores instead characters with less recognition but whose work had a notable impact on the development of modern chemistry. 2 Contemporary authors such as Gaston Bachelard and Emile Meyerson often cited their works, and Thomas Kuhn , in the introduction to his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) referred to it as one of his main inspirations.

The list of his works includes:

  • The genèse de la science des cristaux (1918) 4
  • Les doctrines chimiques in France du début du XVIIe à la fin du XVIIIe siècle (1923) 5
  • Les concepts scientifiques (1926) 6
  • Newton, Stahl, Boerhaave et la doctrine chimique (1930) 7 8
  • The Chimie (1930)
  • The Philosophie de la matière chez Lavoisier (1935)
  • Attraction universelle et religion naturelle chez quelques commentateurs anglais de Newton (1938) 9 10 11
  • La science, l’appel de la religion et la volonté humaine (1954)
  • The philosophical method in histoire des sciences (1987) (ed. Gad Freudenthal)

Acknowledgments and honors

Metzger was treasurer of the International Academy of History of Science in 1929, director of the library of the history of science at the Center international de synthèse in 1939 and secretary of the French Group of Historians of Science. The French Academy of Sciences awarded him the Binoux Prize. 2


  1. Back to top↑ Freudenthal, Gad (1 March 2009). “Hélène Metzger 1889-1944” . Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia . Jewish Women’s Archive.
  2. ↑ Jump to:a b c d Ogilvie, Marilyn; Harvey, Joy (2003). The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science: Pioneering Lives From Ancient Times to the Mid-20th Century (in English) . Routledge. P. 888. ISBN  9781135963439 .
  3. Back to top↑ «Gad Freudenthal, Études sur / Studies on Hélène Metzger (review)». The Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry News 7 (2): 12. 1990.
  4. Back to top↑ L., A. (1919). “Review of The Science of Science, Hélène Metzger .” Revue Philosophie de la France et de l’Étranger 88 : 325-330 . Consulted the 2017-02-19 .
  5. Back to top↑ «Review of doctrines chimiques in France, du début du XVII and à la fin du XVIII et siècle, Hélène Metzger» . Revue Philosophie de la France et de l’Étranger 96 : 450-452. 1923-01-01 . Consulted the 2017-02-19 .
  6. Back to top^ Sarton, George (1927). ‘Review of Les concepts scientifiques’ . Isis 9 (3): 467-470 . Consulted the 2017-02-19 .
  7. Back to top^ Sadoun-Goupil, Michelle (1974). “Review of Newton, Stahl, Boerhaave et la doctrine chimique (nouveau tirage), Hélène Metzger .” Revue d’histoire des sciences 27 (4): 372-374 . Consulted the 2017-02-19 .
  8. Back to top↑ Pelseneer, J. (1931). “Review of Newton, Stahl, Boerhaave et la Doctrine Chimique, Hélène Metzger .” Isis 15 (2): 351-353 . Consulted the 2017-02-19 .
  9. Back to top↑ Poumier, Pierre (1939). «Review of Attraction universelle et religion naturelle chez quelques commentateurs anglais de Newton. 1 re partie: Introduction philosophique; 2 and partie: Newton, Bentley, Whiston, Toland;3 and depart: Clarke, Cheyne, Derham, Baxter, Priestley, Hélène Metzger . Revue Historique 185 (1): 165-168 . Consulted the 2017-02-19 .
  10. Back to top↑ Schrecker, Paul (1937). ‘Review of Attraction universelle et religion naturelle chez quelques eommentateurs anglais de Newton, Hélène METZGER’ . Thalès 4 : 273-275 . Consulted the 2017-02-19 .
  11. Back to top↑ de Santiliana, George (1940). “Review of Attraction universelle et religion naturelle chez quelques commentateurs anglais de Newton, Hélène Metzger” . Isis 32 (1): 145-148 . Consulted the 2017-02-19 .