Atoms and Alchemy: Chymistry and the Experimental Origins of the Scientific Revolution
  • Atoms and Alchemy: Chymistry and the Experimental Origins of the Scientific Revolution
  • Atoms and Alchemy: Chymistry and the Experimental Origins of the Scientific Revolution

Atoms and Alchemy: Chymistry and the Experimental Origins of the Scientific Revolution

by William R. Newman
     
 

ISBN-10: 0226576973

ISBN-13: 9780226576978

Pub. Date: 05/15/2006

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

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

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Overview

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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226576978
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
05/15/2006
Series:
Morality and Society Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
250
Sales rank:
1,152,320
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction : the problematic position of alchemy in the scientific revolution1
1The medieval tradition of alchemical corpuscular theory23
2Erastus and the critique of chymical analysis45
3Aristotelian corpuscular theory and Andreas Libavius66
4The corpuscular theory of Daniel Sennert and its sources85
5The interplay of structure and essence in Sennert's corpuscular theory126
6Boyle, Sennert, and the mechanical philosophy157
7Boyle's use of chymical corpuscles and the reduction to the pristine state to demonstrate the mechanical origin of qualities190

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