French chemist. Taught at the École Normale and École Polytechnique, where he was Louis-Joseph Gay-Lussac's mentor. With Lavoisier, Fourcroy, and Guyton de Morveau, he contributed to the Méthode de nomenclature chimique [Method of Chemical Nomenclature] (Paris, 1787), which classified and standardized the names of substances in accordance with Lavoisier's new system. Berthollet engaged in applied chemistry, particularly in the areas of steel production and textile dyeing. He explored the mathematization of affinity, i.e., the tendency of certain elements to bond with others, which he regarded as the chemical counterpart of gravitation.
A Bonapartist, Berthollet was continuously active in politics at Napoleon's side. Among other positions, he chaired the commission in charge of confiscating Italian works of art for transfer to Paris.