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How NASA Unlocks the Moon's Mysteries

On a day like today, French chemist and physicist Henri Victor Regnault was born
July 21, 1810. Henri Victor Regnault (21 July 1810 - 19 January 1878) was a French chemist and physicist best known for his careful measurements of the thermal properties of gases. He was an early thermodynamicist and was mentor to William Thomson in the late 1840s. He never used his first given name, and was known throughout his lifetime as Victor Regnault. At Sèvres, he continued work on the thermal properties of matter. He designed sensitive thermometers, hygrometers, hypsometers and calorimeters, and measured the specific heats of many substances and the coefficient of thermal expansion of gases. In the course of this work, he discovered that not all gases expand equally when heated and that Boyle's Law is only an approximation, especially at temperatures near a substance's boiling point. The crater Regnault on the Moon is named after Regnault, and his name is one of the 72 names inscribed on the Eiffel Tower. Some have suggested that the symbol R for the ideal gas constant is also named after him.


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