Alchemy essentially morphed into chemistry

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In summary, the conversation discusses the concept of alchemy and its relationship to modern science. The main points include the idea that alchemy is based on transmutation, the importance of experimental proof in the alchemical process, and the potential for transmutation to occur through natural means such as radioactive decay. It is also mentioned that alchemy has largely been replaced by chemistry and does not exist in modern times. The conversation also references a history of alchemy essay and mentions that Isaac Newton, a famous scientist, was also interested in alchemy.
  • #1
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15 Jun 2002, I did in sci.skeptic a post that can be of interest in this forum.
I can see some positive points:
-Transmutation is true.
-Repeated destilation is needed for transmutation power.
-The alchemist is required to proceed experimentally.
-Internal consistency requres to the alchemist to show a concrete experimental proof.
So it seems that while "occult", it proceeds with scientific method and it looks for a goal which is compatible with physical laws.
As well as a physical remark:
The energy in Uranium radiation can trigger (low probability,
but it can) Hg201 going to Pt197, which decays to Au197. With
time, it should be espectacular, as Hg201 is liquid but Au197 is
(here, I should add that Hg201-->Au197 is exotermic by itself, just it happens that spontaneus emission of cold alpha particles has a very very very low probability)
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  • #2
I have a history of alchemy essay (unfinished) at It is best views in MS Word so you can see the footnotes.
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  • #3
Alchemy essentially morphed into chemistry with the industrial revolution. Though radioactive decay is similar (but not the same) as transmutation, I'd say the alchemists of ancient times just got lucky. Alchemy doesn't exist today.
  • #4
Apparently (according to my old Tensors professor) Newton spent a good deal of his life as an Alchemist which is why a lot of people got very worried when he became the master of the mint :)

What is alchemy?

Alchemy was an ancient practice that aimed to transform ordinary metals into gold and to develop an elixir of immortality. It also included spiritual and philosophical elements, such as the belief in the transmutation of the soul.

How did alchemy evolve into chemistry?

Alchemy gradually evolved into chemistry as scientists began to focus on the practical, experimental aspects of the discipline rather than the mystical and speculative aspects. This shift began during the Scientific Revolution in the 16th and 17th centuries.

What were some key figures in the transition from alchemy to chemistry?

Some key figures in this transition include Robert Boyle, Antoine Lavoisier, and Joseph Priestley. They conducted experiments and developed theories that laid the foundation for modern chemistry.

What are some key differences between alchemy and chemistry?

One key difference is that alchemy was focused on the transformation of metals and the search for immortality, while chemistry is focused on understanding the composition, properties, and behavior of matter. Additionally, alchemy relied heavily on mystical and spiritual beliefs, while chemistry is based on empirical evidence and scientific principles.

Are there any remnants of alchemy in modern chemistry?

Yes, there are still some remnants of alchemy in modern chemistry, such as the use of symbols and terminology derived from alchemy. Additionally, some of the goals of alchemy, such as transmutation, have been achieved through nuclear reactions. However, modern chemistry is a distinct and rigorous scientific discipline that has largely moved away from the beliefs and practices of alchemy.

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