By William R. Newman,Lawrence M. Principe

Winner of the 2005 Pfizer Prize from the historical past of technological know-how Society.

 

What really came about within the inner most laboratory of a mid-seventeenth century alchemist? How did he direct his quest after the secrets and techniques of Nature? What tools and theoretical ideas did he employ?

Using, as their advisor, the formerly misunderstood interactions among Robert Boyle, well known as "the father of chemistry," and George Starkey, an alchemist and the main in demand American medical author sooner than Benjamin Franklin as their advisor, Newman and Principe display the hitherto hidden laboratory operations of a well-known alchemist and argue that a number of the rules and practices attribute of recent chemistry derive from alchemy. by way of reading Starkey's outstanding laboratory notebooks, the authors convey how this American "chymist" translated the wildly figurative writings of conventional alchemy into quantitative, rigorously reasoned laboratory practice—and then encoded his personal paintings in allegorical, secretive treatises below the identify of Eirenaeus Philalethes. The fascinating "mystic" Joan Baptista Van Helmont—a favourite of Starkey, Boyle, or even of Lavoisier—emerges from this examine as a shockingly primary determine in seventeenth-century "chymistry." a standard emphasis on quantification, fabric construction, and analysis/synthesis, the authors argue, illustrates a continuity of targets and practices from past due medieval alchemy right down to and past the Chemical Revolution.

For an individual who desires to know how alchemy was once truly practiced in the course of the medical Revolution and what it contributed to the improvement of contemporary chemistry, Alchemy attempted within the Fire may be a veritable philosopher's stone.

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Alchemy Tried in the Fire: Starkey, Boyle, and the Fate of Helmontian Chymistry by William R. Newman,Lawrence M. Principe


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