Images courtesy of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society
British Society for the History of Pharmacy

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Our events programme covers a wide range of pharmacy history topics.  We hold 3 evening meetings each year, and annual conference, a summer visit, and a joint meeting with a School of Pharmacy.  Click on an event below to find out more.
Online via Zoom and YouTube
Monday21 February 202218:30

While the Portuguese converso, Garcia da Orta (c. 1501-1568), was in conversation with a visitor to Goa, a servant girl burst in on them to announce the arrival of a Milanese lapidary; he had found a possible buyer for two of da Orta’s emeralds. This stimulated a discussion on the different sources of the gem, its etymology, magico-medicinal properties, which were the best types to use and the possibility of fakes entering the market. This lecture will cover similar themes, reviewing the therapeutic uses of emeralds from Theophrastus in the 4th century BC, through Classical, medieval Arabic, European and Lapidary traditions to their early modern heyday of medical use.

Chris Duffin is a multi-award-winning palaeontologist, working mostly on the evolution of sharks and now a Scientific Associate at The Natural History Museum in London. He holds Ph.D. degrees in both zoology and the history of medicine. His co-edited volumes on the history of medicine include A History of Geology and Medicine (2013), Geology and Medicine: Historical Connections (2017), Amber in the History of Medicine (2018), Collection in the Space of Culture (2019) and Medical Heritage of the National Palace of Mafra (2020). He has published widely on the history both of geology and pharmacy and is fascinated by the cultural uses of geological materials in history.

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Photo Credit : Wellcome Collection, London


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