Atoms and Alchemy: Chymistry and the Experimental Origins of the Scientific Revolution
Since the Enlightenment, alchemy has been viewed as a sort of antiscience, disparaged by many historians as a form of lunacy that impeded the development of rational chemistry. But in Atoms and Alchemy, William R. Newman—a historian widely credited for reviving recent interest in alchemy—exposes the speciousness of these views and challenges widely held beliefs about the origins of the Scientific Revolution.
Tracing the alchemical roots of Robert Boyle’s famous mechanical philosophy, Newman shows that alchemy contributed to the mechanization of nature, a movement that lay at the very heart of scientific discovery. Boyle and his predecessors—figures like the mysterious medieval Geber or the Lutheran professor Daniel Sennert—provided convincing experimental proof that matter is made up of enduring particles at the microlevel. At the same time, Newman argues that alchemists created the operational criterion of an “atomic” element as the last point of analysis, thereby contributing a key feature to the development of later chemistry. Atomsand Alchemy thus provokes a refreshing debate about the origins of modern science and will be welcomed—and deliberated—by all who are interested in the development of scientific theory and practice.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
acid actu aggregate corpuscles alchemists alchemy Alchymia aqua fortis argued Aristotelian Aristotle Aristotle’s artiﬁcial Atomicall Philosophy atomist body Boyle’s chrysopoeia chymical chymicorum 1619 chymistry Clericuzio color composed corpuscular theory corpuscularian corruption Daniel Sennert deﬁnition Democritean Democritus diakrisis dissolved early modern enim Erastus Erastus’s experimental explanation fact ﬁeri ﬁnal ﬁnd ﬁre ﬁrst ﬁt ﬁxed forma mixti Forms and Qualities four elements Gassendi Geber Geberian generatione et corruptione gold Hence Hunter and Davis hylomorphism Hypomnemata inﬂuence ingredients laboratory Libavius Libavius’s material matter theory means mechanical philosophy medieval mercury metals Meteorology minima mixis mixt natural philosophy naturalia nature Newman niter Paracelsian Paracelsus particles prime matter principle pristine Pseudo-Geber quae quod reditus reduction reﬂect Robert Boyle Scaliger Sceptical Chymist scholastic Science Scientiﬁc Revolution semina Sennert seventeenth century Shapin signiﬁcant silver speciﬁc substance substantial form sulfur Summa perfectionis sunt synkrisis term texture things Thomas Erastus tradition transmutation wine Zabarella