Jean Nicolas Gannal - Encyclopedia




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JEAN NICOLAS GANNAL (1791-1852), French chemist, was born at Sarre-Louis on the 28th of July 1791. In 1808 he entered the medical department of the French army, and witnessed the retreat from Moscow in 1812. After the downfall of the empire he worked at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris and subsequently at the Faculty of Sciences as assistant to L. J. Thenard. His contributions to technical chemistry included a method of refining borax, the introduction of elastic rollers formed of gelatin and sugar for use in printing, and processes for manufacturing glue and gelatin, lint, white lead, &c. The Institute awarded him a Montyon prize in 1827 for his advocacy of chlorine as a remedy in pulmonary phthisis, and again in 1835 for his discovery of the efficacy of solutions of aluminium acetate and chloride for preserving anatomical preparations. In the latter part of his life he turned his attention to embalmment, his method depending on the injection of solutions of aluminium salts into the arteries. He died at Paris in January 1852. His son Felix, born in 1829, also devoted himself to the question of the disposal of the dead, among his publications being Mort reelle et mort apparente (1868), Inhumation et cremation (1876), and Les Cimetieres (1885), a work on the history and law of burial, of which only one volume appeared.

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