Alchemy Quotes (166 quotes)
Lead into Gold - Your basic alchemy
Can You Really Turn Lead Into Gold?
Before chemistry was a science, there was alchemy. Lead atomic number 82 and gold atomic number 79 are defined as elements by the number of protons they possess. Changing the element requires changing the atomic proton number. The number of protons in an element cannot be altered by any chemical means. However, physics may be used to add or remove protons and thereby change one element into another.
Today's Wonder of the Day may sound a bit like it stepped right out of the pages of a Harry Potter book. Turning iron into gold? Does anyone believe that could really happen? Wouldn't that require magic? Some of the world's most famous scientists did indeed believe iron could be turned into gold , and several of them tried desperately to make it happen for hundreds of years.
The Leyden papyrus — the earliest known document of chemistry — describes a way to make metals that look like gold. Isaac Newton was one of several great scientists captivated by alchemy. Alchemists developed many instruments later used in chemistry, including bellows and flasks. One night in , German alchemist Hennig Brandt, searching for a way to make gold, instead discovered phosphorus — one of several chemical elements discovered by the alchemists. Tucked away in a vault in a Dutch museum is the earliest known document about the science of chemistry — an ancient scroll called the Leyden Papyrus. Written in Egypt about 1, years ago and found among the wrappings of a mummy in the early 19th century, it includes dozens of metallurgical recipes.
Alchemy is an ancient practice shrouded in mystery and secrecy. Its practitioners mainly sought to turn lead into gold, a quest that has captured the imaginations of people for thousands of years. However, the goals of alchemy went far beyond simply creating some golden nuggets. Alchemy was rooted in a complex spiritual worldview in which everything around us contains a sort of universal spirit, and metals were believed not only to be alive but also to grow inside the Earth. When a base, or common, metal such as lead was found, it was thought to simply be a spiritually and physically immature form of higher metals such as gold. To the alchemists, metals were not the unique substances that populate the Periodic Table , but instead the same thing in different stages of development or refinement on their way to spiritual perfection. As James Randi notes in his "Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural," "Beginning about the year and reaching its flower in medieval times, alchemy was an art based partly upon experimentation and partly upon magic.
Use alchemy in a sentence. An example of using alchemy is a person who takes a pile of scrap metal and turns it into beautiful art. When watching a movie and a wizard turns a toad into a beautiful woman, it is an example of alchemy. An example of alchemy are the scientists of the Middle Ages who tried to discover a way to use metals such as mercury and sulfur — to make interesting combinations and attempt to turn them into gold. An example of alchemy are the scientists of today who use lasers in order to change aluminum and other metals to black, red, or a variety of other colors. Compare Spanish alquimia and Italian alchimia.