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Newton's Alchemy?

  1. Feb 20, 2006 #1
    Apparently Sir Issac Newton turned to studing alchemy during the last years of his life. Does anyone have any information about any of his alchemical discoveries? Is there a big pile of gold he transformed out of the lead piping in his house?:biggrin:
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 20, 2006 #2
    No since Alchemy breaking the laws of science
  4. Feb 20, 2006 #3


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    Newton was interested in alchemy and mysticism THROUGHOUT his entire life, not just in his later years.
  5. Feb 20, 2006 #4
    Thanks arildno. Very informative of you:uhh: .

    Are Newton's unpublished works published today? Or have they not been decifered as of yet?
  6. Feb 20, 2006 #5
    I don t think it was only limited to newton ` s later years. When newton was young ( 12?) , he did stay with the clark family. clark senior works in a profession that was the modern equivalence of a chemist, doctor and surgent in one. It can be argue that newton` s first exposer to Science was from the clark family.
  7. Feb 20, 2006 #6
    We already had a whole thread on this.
  8. Feb 20, 2006 #7
    I think Newton considered himself more of an alchemist than scientist or mathematician. A few years ago some scientists got ahold of some of Newton's hair and it had (don't quote me on this) 30 times more mercury than average.
  9. Feb 20, 2006 #8


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    Maybe he tried his hand at haberdashery.:biggrin:
  10. Feb 20, 2006 #9
    actually it wouldn't suprise me
  11. Feb 20, 2006 #10
    Please disregard the fact that I misrepresented which period of Newton's life it was that he studied the occult and alchemy.

    I am inquiring with regard to what it was that Newton found out with his studies of Alchemy... not when he performed the studies.

    If there is a thread on PF that deals with the discoveries Newton found in his Alchemical research, could someone please direct us to it?

    If anyone has a website with his "unpublished' alchemical studies on it... please feel free to direct our attention to it. Thank you.

    Personally I think alchemy automatically promotes a secretive attitude toward its whole "science'. I don't think there'll be much information on the formuli and experiments conducted under the name of Alchemy. The secretivenessicity may stem from the times when most scientific inquiry was punishable by death by one church or another.

    It seems that everytime there is a good collection of notes on alchemy, they get "burnt" and dissappear (like an alchemical reaction).

    PS. I see we've been moved from Philosophy. Thank you for properly categorizing this thread.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2006
  12. Feb 20, 2006 #11
    on the first part there are no alchemical discoveries made by newton, unless you consider "not possible" a discovery
    and on two there is no such thing as a good collection of notes on alchemy unless you are talking about handwriting, because alchemy doesn't work.
  13. Feb 21, 2006 #12
    Here's the thread:


    mainly of interest in that it directs you to the Nova program about Newton's alchemy, which probably has info about where else to look for more detail. I'm sure it gets repeated from time to time and is also probably available for purchase. Alchemical notebooks by Newton obviously still exist.
  14. Feb 21, 2006 #13
    Thank you Zoobydude!

    I realize Newton was a genius, his categorizations and calculus and so many other studies including those of light and colour are amazing.

    To think that he had all this knowledge popping-up in his head during a time when you could be imprisoned or even burnt at the stake by the pope in the name of Jesus is a harrowing thought. Even today it seems that the practice and the study of alchemy brings out the bigotry and some kind of falacious snobbery in people who haven't even tried it.
  15. Feb 21, 2006 #14
    Have you, personally, tried it?
  16. Feb 21, 2006 #15

    Chi Meson

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    Have you tried witchcraft? Voodoo? Bending spoons with your mind? Communicating with the dead? That is where "alchemy" belongs. As knowledge was increased, alchemy was replaced with chemistry. We know exactly how lead can be turned into gold: by removing three protons from each lead nucleus. No chemical process will do that. This is why Newton did not publish his findings: he didn't find anything! He was clever enough to know that he was not getting results wil alchemy.

    If you want an open mind about alchemy, you will have to go to a non-scientific forum.
  17. Feb 21, 2006 #16

    Actually removing three protons from each lead nucleus wouldn't work, such an isotope would be too neutron rich and would beta decay.
  18. Feb 21, 2006 #17
    Good advice all around.

    What throws me is that gold is somehow created during the volcanic process. That's where gold is found today, in volcanically disrupted areas. Heat has something to do with it... particular minerals... metals... maybe even lead.

    However gold gets formed... it definitely boils down to a chemical process... or... is that too unscienterrific for the general discussion area of the Physics Forum?
    It sure as heck ain't voodoo. Its more like rocket science and brain surgery, except, no one is admitting to acheiving the goal of creating gold.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2006
  19. Feb 21, 2006 #18
    If it did work the fedral reserve and all the security at old Fort Knox would be on your A55!

    If alchemists have discovered the key to creating gold from some other metal or metals... do you think they'd tell us? Ha :devil: :rofl:
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2006
  20. Feb 21, 2006 #19

    Chi Meson

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    Ha ha! good one. Wait, you're serious? You really think volcanos made gold? Where, just where did you get that idea?

    Perhaps you are thinking of diamonds?
  21. Feb 21, 2006 #20
    I don't know if I should help you out here! You might run into some voodoo witchcraft weilding mammas doing the bubble bubble boil and trouble trick on ya!!

    But, in all fairness, its on the web. Here's one source for you.

    Just stay off my claim, yeh hear?!!! Damn tarnationed varmants.

    http://www.em.gov.bc.ca/Mining/Geolsurv/MetallicMinerals/MineralDepositProfiles/Profiles/I04.htm [Broken]

    You may also note that whenever surface gold is found it is found within the blast radius of a volcano that has blown its stack however many years and however many times in the past.

    Prospectors are often fooled by this voodoo-like deception and they set up a claim and bore cores at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars... finding zippilita y nada.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
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