ward filled the position of chief of the chemical department in the School of Arts and Manufactures from 1846 to 1851, and was made a fellow in 1846. He gained his first independent position in 1851, as professor in the Agricultural Institute at Versailles. After the death of Orfila, in 1853, and the retirement of Dumas, in 1854, the chairs which they had filled were united in the chair of Medical Chemistry, and Professor Wurtz was made its occupant. In 1866 he became Dean of the Medical Faculty, and gained much credit as such by his firm and moderate course during the troubles with the students in 1867 and 1868, when the best professors in the faculty were denounced to the Senate. He resigned this office in April, 1875, and was appointed, in the following August, Professor of Organic Chemistry in the Faculty of Sciences. He has also been a member of the hygienic committee, a member and secretary of the Chemical Society, and a member of the Philomathic Society.
The chemical researches of Professor Wurtz have been numerous, original, and important. The Royal Society's catalogue contains a list of seventy-three titles to papers which were published by him previous to 1864. The publication of his investigations was begun in 1842, with a paper on the constitution of the hypophosphites. This was followed by researches on phosphorous acid, sulpho-phosphoric acid, etc., which greatly added to our knowledge of the phosphorus compounds. It was during his experiments on the hypophosphites that he discovered the hydride of copper, a substance which derives interest from its own peculiarities, as well as on account of the rarity of metallic hydrides. Professor Wurtz's next researches were directed to the cyanic and cyanuric ethers, and brought forth, among other results, the discovery, in 1849, of the so-called compound ammonias formed by the displacement of one of the atoms of hydrogen in ammonia, by organic radicals like methyl and ethyl. A third important investigation, published in 1855, resulted in the confirmation of the theory of Laurent, Gerhardt, and Hoffmann, of the double nature of the alcohol radicals—that the substances obtained from alcohol as radicals were not the simple radicals, but were compounds of those radicals with themselves. This has afforded one of the strongest arguments in favor of the view now generally entertained by chemists, that free hydrogen is a compound of hydrogen with hydrogen. Other investigations, which must enter into the summing up of the work of Professor Wurtz in this line, are those on the glycols, and on ethylene oxide; on the action of nascent hydrogen on aldehyde; on the action of chlorine on aldehyde; on the action of hydrochloric acid on aldehyde; on the synthesis of neurine; and on abnormal vapor densities.
In 1864 he was awarded, at the instance of the Academy of Sciences, the Emperor's biennial prize of twenty thousand francs. Two years afterward, or in 1867, he was elected a member of the Academy,