06th - 11th October 2016

American Experience : The Poisoner's Handbook

Thursday 01st October 2015 from 18h45 to 21h15
Salle 3 / IPGP
Session for general audience

Directed by
Rob Rapley
Produced by
WGBH Educational Foundation / Diff : ARTE

Docudrama, United States, 2014, 113 min

Competition Science Television

French version of the film

In the early 20th century, the average American medicine cabinet was a would-be poisoner’s treasure chest. There was radioactive radium in health tonics, thallium in depilatory creams, and morphine in teething medicine and potassium cyanide in cleaning supplies. While the tools of the murderer’s trade multiplied as the pace of industrial innovation increased, the scientific knowledge (and the political will) to detect and prevent the crimes lagged behind. All this changed in 1918, when New York City hired its first scientifically trained medical examiner Charles Norris. Over the course of a decade and a half, Norris and his extraordinarily driven and talented chief toxicologist, Alexander Gettler, would turn forensic chemistry into a formidable science, sending many a murder to the electric chair and setting the standards that the rest of the country would ultimately adopt.


Debate with :

  • Robert Barouki, Director of Inserm Unit pharmacology toxicology and signaling

Know more