Chemistry, medicine and crime

Mateu J. B. Orfila (1787- 1853)

and his times

English --- Català --- Castellano

Participants --- Scientific Programme --- Abstracts

Book: Chemistry, Medicine and Crime

Book: Entre la ciencia y el crimen

Orfila's books on-line (BIUM) --- Definitive programme

The meeting "Orfila i la seva època" (Orfila and his times) will be held in Maó (Minorca) on the 19th-20th March 2004. It aims to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the death of Mateu J. Bonaventura Orfila (1787- 1853), a very relevant toxicologist and chemist, and the dean of the Faculty of Medicine of Paris from 1830 onwards. Born at Maó, he studied medicine at the University of Valencia and chemistry in Barcelona, to later follow his studies in Paris. Under the protection of the chemists Vauquelin and Thenard, Orfila became a private lecturer on chemistry in the French capital. In 1819 he was appointed professor of legal medicine, and four years later he succeeded Vauquelin as professor of chemistry at the Paris Faculty of Medicine. In 1830 he was nominated dean of that faculty, a powerful and influent position inside French medical community. He died, after a short illness, in Paris on the 12th of March 1853.

Orfila's chief publications are Traité des poisons, or Toxicologie générale (1813); Eléments de chimie medicale (1817); Leçons de médécine legale (1823); Traité des exhumations juridiques (1830); and Recherches sur l'empoisonnement par l'acide arsenieux (1841). He also wrote many valuable papers, chiefly on subjects connected with legal medicine.

Starting from Orfila's work, the meeting aims to build a broader and more ambitious collective enterprise on the intersections between chemistry and medicine during the first half of nineteenth century. For that purpose, in a two days format, including some brief visit at relevant places in the island, the meeting will be divided in three parts: (a) Orfila and his times; (b) Medical chemistry (c). Chemistry, Legal Medicine and Toxicology. The meeting second circular offers more information about the contents.

A revised version of the papers has been published in





Additional information can be requested to the members of the organising committee:

José R. Bertomeu Sánchez

(Universitat de València)

Alvar Martínez Vidal

(Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Josep Miquel Vidal

(Institut Menorquí d'Estudis)i

Agustí Nieto Galan

(Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)