Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Helmont, Jean Baptists van (1577-1644), a great Belgian chemist, was born at Brussels and educated at Louvain. Before his marriage in 1605 he travelled in England, France, and Switzerland. Four years afterwards he settled down to a life of study at Vilvorde, his estate near Brussels. Throughout his life he wavered between science and mysticism, and was in early life deeply religious, both studying and putting into practice the teaching of the Imitatio Christi. This was succeeded by an absorption in Paracelsus and a devotion to alchemy and chemistry. Van Helmont's contributions to the latter were his distinction between various gases, his insistence on the employment of the badance with the demonstration of its consequences, and his investigation of human fluids. He is said to have been the first to employ the term "saturation" and to use boiling-point and melting-point as measures of temperature. Many editions of his works have been printed, and in 1868 a book by Rommelaere, Ftudes sur Van Helmont, was published at Brussels.