Mathieu Orfila Chemist

Mathieu orfila

Mathieu Joseph Bonaventure Orfila (Catalan Mateu Josep Bonaventura Orfila i Rotger) (24 April 1787 – 12 March 1853) was a Spanish-born French toxicologist and chemist, the founder of the science of toxicology. If there is reason to believe that a murder or attempted murder may have been committed using poison, a forensic toxicologist is often brought in to examine pieces of evidence such as corpses and food items for poison content. In Orfila's time the primary type of poison in use was arsenic, but there were no reliable ways of testing for its presence. Orfila created new techniques and refined existing techniques in his first treatise, Traité des poisons, greatly enhancing their accuracy. In 1840, Marie LaFarge was tried for the murder of her husband using arsenic. Mysteriously, although arsenic was available to the killer and was found in the food, none could be found in the body. Orfila was asked by the court to investigate. He discovered that the test used, the Marsh Test, had been performed incorrectly, and that there was in fact arsenic in the body, allowing LaFarge to be found guilty.

Personal details

Date of birth
April 24th, 1787
Date of death
March 12th, 1853 at age of 65
Place of death
Paris, France


1. University of Valencia Colleges/University

The University of Valencia (Valencian: Universitat de València, UV; IPA: [univeɾsiˈtat de vaˈlensia]) is a university located in the Spanish city of Valencia. It is one of the oldest surviving universities in Spain,and the oldest in the Valencian Community, and is regarded as one of Spain's leading academic institutions. The University was founded in 1499, and currently has around 55,000 students.

Type Public university
Av de Blasco Ibáñez, 13, 46010 - Valencia, Province of Valencia
Official web page
Wikipedia article

Institution social analysis

Notable alumni by gender

People attended University of Valencia connected by profession and/or age

b. 1557., Organization founder
b. 1962., Politician
b. 1856., Journalist
b. 1951., Architect
b. 1757., Writer
b. 1981., Latin pop Artist
b. 1966., Businessperson
b. 1942., Politician

2. University of Barcelona Colleges/University

The University of Barcelona (Catalan: Universitat de Barcelona, UB; IPA: [uniβərsiˈtad də βərsəˈɫonə]; Spanish: Universidad de Barcelona) is a public university located in the city of Barcelona, Catalonia in Spain. It is a member of the Coimbra Group, LERU, European University Association, Mediterranean Universities Union, International Research Universities Network and Vives Network. Established in 3 November 1450, it is the fifth oldest university in Spain and one of the oldest universities in the world.

Type Public school
November 3rd, 1450
Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 585, 08007 - Barcelona, Catalonia
2010. 26,227
2010. 61,259
Official web page
Wikipedia article

Institution social analysis

Notable alumni by career
Notable alumni by gender

People attended University of Barcelona connected by profession and/or age

b. 1947., Writer
b. 1581., Priest
b. 1867., Architect
b. 1941., Politician
b. 1971., Politician
b. 1974., Politician
b. 1984., Noble person

Written work

1.A general system of toxicology, or, A treatise on poisons found in the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms

Editions Subjects Co-authors
1817. at Philadelphia

2.Practical chemistry, or, A description of the processes by which the various articles of chemical research, in the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms, are procured

Editions Subjects Co-authors
1818. at Philadelphia

3.A popular treatise on the remedies to be employed in cases of poisoning and apparent death

Editions Subjects Co-authors
1818. at Philadelphia

4.Directions for the treatment of persons who have taken poison, and those in a state of apparent death

Editions Subjects Co-authors
1819. at Baltimore


1.Musée d'Anatomie Delmas-Orfila-Rouvière

The Musée d'Anatomie Delmas-Orfila-Rouvière was a museum of anatomy formerly located on the eighth floor of the Faculty of Medicine, Paris V René Descartes University, 45, rue des Saints-Pères, 6th arrondissement of Paris, France. It was the largest anatomy museum in France. It was closed around 2005, with all its exhibits going into indefinite storage. The museum dates from 1794 when Honoré Fragonard, demonstrator and professor of anatomy, collected specimens for the Faculty of Medicine of Paris's new anatomical cabinet. Although the city had contained earlier, amateur collections, including a set of more than 1000 wax anatomical models bequeathed by Jean-Baptiste Sue to the École des Beaux-Arts, these earlier collections were dispersed during the French Revolution. The cabinet's anatomical collection was reorganized and vigorously expanded by Mathieu Orfila. Appointed dean of the Faculty of Medicine of Paris in 1832, Orfila visited the Hunterian Museum and was inspired by its collections of comparative anatomy. In 1844 he established a museum, which in 1847 was formally inaugurated and named the Musée Orfila in his honor.


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