Personne, Jacques

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(b Saulieu, Côte-d’Or, France, 17 October 1816;d Paris, France, 11 December 1880)

Chemistry, pharmacy.

Orphaned at an early age when his father, a limeburner, died in an acciedent, Personne experienced much harship, After completing an apprenticeship in pharmacy, he enrolled in the Paris School of Pharmacy, and later competer successfully for an in ternship in a hosptial pharmachy. From 1849 until his death in 1880, Personne served as chief pharmacist in three Paris municipal hospitals: Midi (1849–1857), Pitie (1857–1878), and Charite (1878–1880. From 1843 onward his connection with the Pairs School of Pharmacy was continuous first as Préparateur then as chef des travaux and finally in 1877 as instructor of a newly established course in analytical chemistry. In 1875 Persone was admitted to the Academy of Medicine. In 1877 at the age of sixty-one, he earned his docteur ès sciences physiques and in 1878 became a member of the Council on Public Hyginene and Health of the department of the Seine.

Despite his heavy hospital and teaching responsibilities, Personne carried on almost four decades of unremitting research . Among his most important investigations was a long chemical and botanical study of lupulin (1854), Later he produced the first experimental evidence that red phosphorus was safer than and superior to regular phosphorus in the production of hydrobromic and hydriodic acids and their esters (1861). In his researches on chloral hydrate (1869–1870)—which earned him the Barbier Prize of the Academy of Sciences—Personne not only developed standards of identity and purity for chloral hydrate, but also discovered and investigated chloral alcoholate . Personne believed that he had experimentally confirmed Liebreich’s view that chloral hydrate owed its hypnotic effect to the release of chloroform in the blood . The Barbier Prize commission shared this belief, although it is now known that the in vivo effect is due to the release of trichloroethanol.

Personne’s work includes such diverse subjects as acids and oxides of manganese, with Michel Lhermite (1851); fermentation of acetic acid (1853); oxidation of oils turpentine (1856); chemical analysis of cannabis (1857); compounds formed by the interaction of iodine and tin (1862); and the determination of quinine in urine (1878).


I. Original Works. For listings of Personne’s publications, see A. Goris et al., Centenaie de I’internat eb pharmacie des hopitaux et hospices civils de Paris (Paris, 1920), 536–538; Poggendorff, III, 1024; and Royal Society Catalogue of Scientifuc Papers IV, 837; VIII, 596; X, 1035.

II. Secondary Literature. On Personne and his work, see E. C. Jungfleisch, “Discours prononce aux obseques de M. J. Personne,” in Journal de pharmacie et de chimie, 5th ser., 3 (1881), 109–112; C. Méhu, “Discours pronoce aux obseques de M. Personne,” in Bulletine de I’Academie de medeceine9 (1880), 1320–1322; and A. Villiers, “J. Personne, “ in Centenaire de I’École supérieure de pharmacie de I’Universirte de Paris 1803–1903 (Paris, 1904), 226–232.

Alex Berman