Biography of Francisco Carbonell y Bravo (1768-1837)

Spanish scientist born in Barcelona in 1768 and died in the same city in 1837.

Son of pharmacist, Carbonell made his first studies in the Tridentine Seminary of his native city, to then pursue the career of pharmacy, that, at the end of twenty years, needed the waiver of age to exercise. He/She moved to Madrid to perfect their studies in the Natural History Museum and the Botanical Garden, and studied physics, chemistry, mineralogy and botany over three years. Carbonell continued his long scientific preparation in the University of Huesca, where earned a doctorate in medicine in 1795. During the following three years he/she taught chemistry at the College of pharmacy of Barcelona, where determined supporter of the modern trends in the discipline was already. Interested in improving their training, three years attended the school of Medicine of Montpellier, where he/she earned a doctorate in medicine and surgery in 1801 and studied experimental physics, chemistry and natural history.

Carbonell was strongly influenced by the teachings of Jean Antoine Chaptal, which determined its future guidance with regard to chemistry. On his return to Spain, he/she spent two years in Madrid following the courses of chemistry and mineralogy of Christian Herrgen Joseph Louis Proust . Returning to Barcelona in 1803 he/she was appointed Professor of chemistry applied to the arts by the Royal Junta of Commerce, although classes not could begin up to completed preparations in 1805. They began with an auditorium select, similar to that followed courses of Proust in Madrid, what would have been able to determine a failure similar to the one. However, two months after starting classes, in the course of a demonstration of the synthesis of water, came an unfortunate accident that Carbonell lost an eye. From that moment only attended really interested students, which was able to develop an important work. It was this truncated by the French invasion, which determined March Carbonell to Majorca, where he/she stayed between 1808 and 1814 exercising various educational tasks.

In 1815 it returned to the Chair of the Board of trade, which I give to be appointed Professor of chemistry at the University of Barcelona in 1822. Shortly he/she held Carbonell this last position, as an apoplexy attack left him with serious difficulties in speech. Although Carbonell was a chemist handy and prominent man's lab, are not own investigations which made her figure. In addition to numerous official surveys, he/she studied on the preparation of nitrate and other inorganic compounds, which have not transcended him. Its real launch ensued following the publication in 1796 from his pharmacy, in Latin version, which had expanded versions and elements already in Spanish in 1802, 1805 and 1824. It should outline as the unusual fact that the Latin version was quickly printed in Paris, and that became two French translations on various Spanish editions in 1803 and 1820. This book was mandatory at Spanish pharmacy faculties and some French text. The success of the work was based on the universality and robustness of the knowledge of the author, in his exhibition facility. However, the most original feature of Carbonell regarding Spanish chemistry should be noted in its conviction of the importance of the professional figure of the chemical with respect to industry: "we have irrefragables evidence that philosophical or general chemistry is capable on its own of a manufacturer and an artist State lead with tino", knowledge and advantage, the establishment itself or put in charge." His conception of chemistry, coinciding with Antoine François Fourcroy, defined as a science "that deals with discover, correct, extend, improve and simplify the peculiar chemical operations of Arts and manufactures". This perspective must consider the teaching task of Carbonell and many of his writings and translations, among them the monumental work of Chaptal in five volumes entitled chemistry applied to the arts. Paints, dyes, the distillation of wine and other similar topics were treated by Carbonell in the section of chemistry in charge in the memories of agriculture and arts, published by the Board of trade between 1815 and 1821. He/She also wrote a curriculum for natural sciences, published in 1813 with the intention of putting its experience at the service of the public instruction, which was developed from the Constitution of 1812. It is noted the role that accounted for many of his disciples, such as Mateu Josep Bonaventura Orfila, José Garriga and Buach, Agustín Yáñez and Girona and José Camps and Camps in chemistry.


J. F. PIFERRER. Pharmaciae Elementa elementa Chemiae recentioris based inixa. Barcelona, 1796. the remaining editions, in Spanish, all of Barcelona, Francisco Piferrer, 1802.

TEXERO, M. test of a general plan of teaching of the natural sciences. Palma, M. Domínguez, 1813.

See also Maffei, vol. I, p. 127, and vol. II, p. 565.


YANEZ and GIRONA, A. historical praise of Dr. don Francisco Carbonell and Bravo, Barcelona, Academy of Sciences and arts, 1838.OLMEDILLA and PUIG, J. glories of science, E. Medina, 1876, pp. 111-119.QUINTANA MARI, a. and CARBONELL and BRAVO, F. Ion, 4 (1944), 768-769.MOLES Y ORMELLA, E. The Spanish scientific moment, 1775-1825 [entry in Academy of Sciences presentation], Madrid, C. Bermejo, 1934.