The Esteve Foundation supported the Symposium “Orfila and his times” that it was held in Maó (Minorca) on the 19th-20th March 2004. It aimed 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. The meeting was organized by “Grup de Recerca Francesc Salvà” and “Institut Menorquí d’Estudis”.

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.