Alchemist Essay

951 Words 4 Pages
Due to today’s media which has sensationalized and embellished the more magical aspects of alchemy, the layman may imagine dark spirits and flasks overflowing with noxious chemicals. The layman may also think of alchemy as a trial and error process, in which the aspiring alchemist fumbles blindly towards his next success or failure. This is far from the truth. The infancy of alchemy is located in a Greece influenced Egypt ("Alchemists, Ancient and Modern."). Ancient Egypt, Alexandria, had become a cultural hub for commerce, tradesmen, and all manner of people and ideas (Principe 9). The idea of alchemists stumbling toward their next discovery is refuted by the existence of techniques and operations that were fundamental to an alchemist’s primary …show more content…
It was around third century AD that the idea of producing metals by transmutation emerged. To a worker, if a metal’s surface and composition may be changed to resemble a more precious metal, then why could not true change occur? Sometime in 640 AD Arab conquest resulted in the capture of Alexandria and the annexation of Egypt("Arab Conquest of Egypt :: Claremont Coptic Encyclopedia."). This brought the Arab world into close contact with Greek ideas and culture, including the already influenced melding of practical Egyptian skill and the Greek’s fascination with the theoretical and philosophical (“Islamic Alchemy”). From this period not much is certain. Several texts endured but the credibility of the work is questionable since the creation of the texts arrived almost a hundred years after their tales. Although alchemical knowledge and advancements are unclear or dubious during this time, we can be certain of alchemy’s advancement into the medieval ages. On February eleventh, 1144, Robert of Chester, a monk who was translating an Arabic text, finished ("Alchemical Confusion." ). From there, alchemy grew to sizable proportions and prospered in Europe for close to six hundred years ("Alchemists, Ancient and Modern." ). Around the middle ages to the late seventeenth century, alchemists believed that true transmutation would only be possible with the Philosopher’s stone. Some alchemists sought the stone for its more fabled property …show more content…
But, due to this process of trial and error and the search for the essential base and Philosophic Mercury required to create the Philosopher’s Stone, advancements and contributions to
Wall 4 modern chemistry were made. For example, Johann Rudolph Glauber, a self-educated German alchemist, developed processes for the production of sulphuric, nitric, acetic, and hydrochloric acids (Flavell-While). Another contributor is Robert Boyle, who is best known for Boyle’s law which relates to the volume and the pressure of air. This has influenced our knowledge of gasses and their density relating to pressure ("Boyle 's Law."). The alchemist’s belief that all elements consisted of the same material and could be deconstructed and reformed into new, shaped Sir Isaac Newton’s advancement towards atomic theory ("Isaac Newton." ). In conclusion, alchemy in the modern world has an association with the magical and foolhardy, but the process itself has fascinated and captivated some of the very minds that have shaped the world of modern

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