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The Life and Work of Erik M. P. Widmark

Andréasson, Rune B.Sc, M.D.hc; Jones, A. Wayne Ph.D., D.Sc.

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: September 1996 - Volume 17 - Issue 3 - p 177-190

Erik M. P. Widmark (1889-1945) was among the first researchers to study in a systematic way the absorption, distribution, and elimination of ethanol in the body; in addition, he formulated his results in mathematical terms. Widmark's research during the first decades of this century paved the way for innovative traffic safety legislation that stipulated punishable limits of alcohol in the blood of a person driving a car. The 50th anniversary of Widmark's death was commemorated in 1995. His contributions have gained enormous respect and are still widely cited in forensic science, especially in connection with the crime of driving under the influence of alcohol. The Widmark equations and the factors β and r are now part of the vocabulary of all those trained in forensic alcohol analysis and toxicology.

From the Department of Forensic Toxicology, National Laboratory of Forensic Medicine, University Hospital, Linköping, Sweden.

Received September 20, 1995; accepted October 28, 1995.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. A. W. Jones, Department of Forensic Toxicology, University Hospital, 581 85 Linköping, Sweden.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers