Alchemy Tried in the Fire
Starkey, Boyle, and the Fate of Helmontian Chymistry
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Alchemy Tried in the Fire by William R. Newman
Book DescriptionUsing the previously misunderstood interactions between Robert Boyle, widely known as "the father of chemistry," and George Starkey, an alchemist and the most prominent American scientific writer before Benjamin Franklin, as their guide, William R. Newman and Lawrence M. Principle reveal the hitherto hidden operations of Starkey's laboratory and argue that many of the principles and practices characteristic of modern chemistry derive from alchemy. By analyzing Starkey's extraordinary laboratory notebooks, the authors show how this American "chymist" translated the wildly figurative writings of traditional alchemy into quantitative, carefully reasoned laboratory practice - and then encoded his own work in allegorical, secretive treatises under the name of Eirenaeus Philalethes. A common emphasis on quantification, material production, and analysis/synthesis, the authors argue, illustrates a continuity of goals and practices from late medieval alchemy down to and beyond the Chemical Revolution.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780226577029
(228mm x 154mm x 20mm)
Imprint: University of Chicago Press
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 1-Jul-2005
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author William R. Newman
Osiris, Paperback (May 2015)
The last twenty-five years have witnessed some provocative transmutations in our understanding of early modern chemistry. This book offers a collection of essays that builds on these reappraisals and excavates the affinities between alchemy, chymistry, and chemistry from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries.
Artificial and the Natural, Hardback (December 2007)
Notions of nature and art as they have been defined and redefined in Western culture, from the Hippocratic writers and Aristotle of Ancient Greece to nineteenth-century chemistry and twenty-first century biomimetics.
Atoms and Alchemy, Paperback (June 2006)
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. This title exposes the speciousness of these views and challenges widely held beliefs about the origins of the Scientific Revolution.
Secrets of Nature, Paperback (February 2006)» View all books by William R. Newman
A fresh look at the role of astrology and alchemy in Renaissance thinking and everyday life.
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Author Biography - William R. Newman
William R. Newman is professor of history and philosophy of science at Indiana University. He is the author of The Summa Perfectionis of Pseudo-Geber: A Critical Edition, Translation, and Study and Gehennical Fire: The Lives of George Starkey, an American Alchemist in the Scientific Revolution. Lawrence M. Principe is professor of the history of science and technology and of chemistry at The Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of The Aspiring Adept: Robert Boyle and His Alchemical Quest and coeditor of The Correspondence of Robert Boyle.
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