Pierre Duhem (1861-1916) can be considered one of the last nineteenth-century physicists. Specialist in Thermodynamics, the branch of physics that dominated the second half of the nineteenth century, introduced the idea of the chemical potential at the same time as William Gibbs, expressed in the Gibbs-Duhem equation, which connects the chemical potential with magnitudes such as the volume, pressure, entropy and temperature of a chemical mixture. He is considered one of the creators of physical chemistry and was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in Physics.
In his scientific work, Duhem confronted Marcellin Berthelot, whose principle of maximum work he opposed. This led to his doctoral thesis being rejected, and he was denied a teaching position at the University of Paris. Duhem was finally shown to be right, as Berthelot’s principle is not generally applicable, for it has many exceptions.