- The Loom
Alchemy Without The Shame
John Noble Wilford has a long, interesting article in today’s New York Times on the rehabilitation of the alchemist. Once the icon of the bad old days before the scientific revolution, alchemy has been emerging in recent years as more of a proto-science. Indeed, a fair number of the heroes of the scientific revolution were dyed-in-the-wool alchemists. Robert Boyle, one of the founders of chemistry, wanted to reform alchemy, not destroy it. He chased after the philsopher’s stone for his whole life. Many of his papers were destroyed in the eighteenth century because they were loaded with discussions of alchemy–which by then had acquired its bad reputation. Boyle’s legacy had to be protected.