Press "Enter" to skip to content

Atoms and Alchemy: Chymistry and the Experimental Origins of by William R. Newman

By William R. Newman

Because the Enlightenment, alchemy has been seen as a type of antiscience, disparaged by means of many historians as a kind of lunacy that impeded the advance of rational chemistry. yet in Atoms and Alchemy, William R. Newman—a historian extensively credited for reviving fresh curiosity in alchemy—exposes the speciousness of those perspectives and demanding situations broadly held ideals concerning the origins of the medical Revolution.

Tracing the alchemical roots of Robert Boyle’s recognized mechanical philosophy, Newman exhibits that alchemy contributed to the mechanization of nature, a circulate that lay on the very middle of clinical discovery. Boyle and his predecessors—figures just like the mysterious medieval Geber or the Lutheran professor Daniel Sennert—provided convincing experimental evidence that subject is made from enduring debris on the microlevel. while, Newman argues that alchemists created the operational criterion of an “atomic” point because the final aspect of study, thereby contributing a key function to the advance of later chemistry. Atoms and Alchemy thus provokes a clean debate concerning the origins of contemporary technological know-how and should be welcomed—and deliberated—by all who're drawn to the improvement of medical concept and perform.

Show description

Read or Download Atoms and Alchemy: Chymistry and the Experimental Origins of the Scientific Revolution PDF

Best history & philosophy books

Forms of Power

Political energy is frequently seen because the sole embodiment of 'social power', even whereas we realize that social strength manifests itself in numerous kinds and institutional spheres. This new e-book by means of Gianfranco Poggi means that the 3 important sorts of social strength - the industrial, the normative/ideological and the political - are in response to a group's privileged entry to and regulate over various assets.

The Limits of Scientific Reasoning

The bounds of medical Reasoning used to be first released in 1984. Minnesota Archive variants makes use of electronic expertise to make long-unavailable books once more obtainable, and are released unaltered from the unique college of Minnesota Press versions. The examine of human judgment and its boundaries is key to an figuring out of the strategies excited by the purchase of medical wisdom.

Five equations that changed the world

The technology specialist on sturdy Morning the United States bargains an interesting and informative survey of the 5 mathematical equations with the best effect on glossy instances. Reprint. PW.

Physical Structure

The first target of this e-book is to summarize the present point of accrued wisdom in regards to the actual constitution of good surfaces with emphasis on well-defined surfaces on the gas-solid and vacuum-solid interfaces. The goal is not just to supply a typical reference for practitioners, but additionally to supply a great start line for scientists who're simply coming into the sector.

Additional resources for Atoms and Alchemy: Chymistry and the Experimental Origins of the Scientific Revolution

Sample text

28 chapter 1 et corruptione that genuine mixis occurred only when the ingredients of mixture acted upon one another to produce a state of absolute homogeneity. Otherwise, he asserted, a sufficiently keen-sighted person, such as the classical hero Lynceus, would be able to see the heterogeneous particles that made up what had seemed to be a genuinely uniform substance. Aristotle’s predecessor Empedocles had of course espoused precisely the sort of theory that Aristotle was here debunking. Empedocles had maintained a century before Aristotle that the four elements were composed at the microlevel of immutable particles, which lay side by side to form compounds (what chemists today would call “mixtures”).

22. Newman, Pseudo-Geber, p. 725. 34 chapter 1 composition of the metals in terms of varying proportions of mercury and sulfur in volatile and fixed varieties. 23 Not surprisingly, Geber goes on to depict a number of other laboratory processes, such as sublimation and distillation, in terms of the aggregation and separation of these mercurial and sulfurous corpuscles. 25 Unlike the atomism of antiquity, however, Geber’s corpuscularism does not dwell on the differing shapes of the constituent particles.

Geber’s “very strong composition” was not a mixture at all in the strict sense of Aristotle’s De generatione et corruptione but rather a corpuscular juxtaposition like that of Empedocles. Unlike Empedocles, however, Geber incorporated the key notion of compositional stages into his system: the four elements could combine to form the larger complex corpuscles of mercury and sulfur, and these in turn combined to form the corpuscles of the different metals as such. Although Geber’s hierarchical stages do not map precisely onto the modern view of atoms and molecules, it is 9.

Download PDF sample

Rated 4.79 of 5 – based on 36 votes