In early inquiries a great point was made of the prevention of putrefaction, and work was done in the way of finding how much of an agent must be added to a given solution, in order that the bacteria accidentally present might not develop. But for various reasons this was an inexact method, and to-day an antiseptic is judged by its effects on pure cultures of definite pathogenic microbes, and on their vegetative and spore forms. Their standardization has been effected in many instances, and a water solution of carbolic acid of a certain fixed 'strength is now taken as the standard with which other antiseptics are compared.
The possibility of replacing them by a standard form, which could be utilized for performing arithmetical operations, is worthy of consideration; some of the difficulties in the way of standardization have already been indicated (§ 14).
As an officer of engineers he presented to the National Assembly in 1790 a Memoire on the standardization of weights and measures.