Modern Alchemy

Author: Mark Morrisson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198041924
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Alchemists are generally held to be the quirky forefathers of science, blending occultism with metaphysical pursuits. Although many were intelligent and well-intentioned thinkers, the oft-cited goals of alchemy paint these antiquated experiments as wizardry, not scientific investigation. Whether seeking to produce a miraculous panacea or struggling to transmute lead into gold, the alchemists radical goals held little relevance to consequent scientific pursuits. Thus, the temptation is to view the transition from alchemy to modern science as one that discarded fantastic ideas about philosophers stones and magic potions in exchange for modest yet steady results. It has been less noted, however, that the birth of atomic science actually coincided with an efflorescence of occultism and esoteric religion that attached deep significance to questions about the nature of matter and energy. Mark Morrisson challenges the widespread dismissal of alchemy as a largely insignificant historical footnote to science by prying into the revival of alchemy and its influence on the emerging subatomic sciences of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.Morrisson demonstrates its surprising influence on the emerging subatomic sciences of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Specifically, Morrisson examines the resurfacing of occult circles during this time period and how their interest in alchemical tropes had a substantial and traceable impact upon the science of the day. Modern Alchemy chronicles several encounters between occult conceptions of alchemy and the new science, describing how academic chemists, inspired by the alchemy revival, attempted to transmute the elements; to make gold. Examining scientists publications, correspondence, talks, and laboratory notebooks as well as the writings of occultists, alchemical tomes, and science-fiction stories, he argues that during the birth of modern nuclear physics, the trajectories of science and occultism---so often considered antithetical---briefly merged.

Atoms and Alchemy

Author: William R. Newman
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226576973
Format: PDF
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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.

The Lost Elements

Author: Marco Fontani
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199383367
Format: PDF, Docs
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The Periodic Table of Elements hasn't always looked like it does now, a well-organized chart arranged by atomic number. In the mid-nineteenth century, chemists were of the belief that the elements should be sorted by atomic weight. However, the weights of many elements were calculated incorrectly, and over time it became clear that not only did the elements need rearranging, but that the periodic table contained many gaps and omissions: there were elements yet to be discovered, and the allure of finding one had scientists rushing to fill in the blanks. Supposed "discoveries" flooded laboratories, and the debate over what did and did not belong on the periodic table reached a fever pitch. With the discovery of radioactivity, the discourse only intensified. Throughout its formation, the Periodic Table of Elements has seen false entries, good-faith errors, retractions, and dead ends. In fact, there have been more falsely proclaimed elemental discoveries throughout history than there are elements on the table as we know it today. The Lost Elements: The Periodic Table's Shadow Side collects the most notable of these instances, stretching from the nineteenth century to the present. The book tells the story of how scientists have come to understand elements, by discussing the failed theories and false discoveries that shaped the path of scientific progress. We learn of early chemists' stubborn refusal to disregard alchemy as a legitimate practice, and of one German's supposed discovery of an elemental metal that breathed. As elements began to be created artificially in the twentieth century, we watch the discovery climate shift to favor the physicists, rather than the chemists. Along the way, Fontani, Costa, and Orna introduce us to the key figures in the development of today's periodic table, including Lavoisier and Mendeleev. Featuring a preface from Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann, The Lost Elements is an expansive history of the wrong side of chemical discovery-and reveals how these errors and gaffes have helped shape the table as much as any other form of scientific progress.

I Saw Water

Author: Ithell Colquhoun
Publisher: Penn State Press
ISBN: 0271067284
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Ithell Colquhoun (1906–1988) is remembered today as a surrealist artist, writer, and occultist. Although her paintings hang in a number of public collections and her gothic novel Goose of Hermogenes (1961) remains in print, critical responses to her work have been severely constrained by the limited availability of her art and writings. The publication of her second novel, I Saw Water—presented here for the first time, together with a selection of her other writings and images, many also previously unpublished—marks a significant step in expanding our knowledge of Colquhoun’s work. Composed almost entirely of material assembled from the author’s dreams, I Saw Water challenges such fundamental distinctions as those between sleeping and waking, the two separated genders, and life and death. It is set in a convent on the Island of the Dead, but its spiritual context derives from sources as varied as Roman Catholicism, the teachings of the Theosophical Society, Goddess spirituality, Druidism, the mystical Qabalah, and Neoplatonism. The editors have provided both an introduction and explanatory notes. The introductory essay places the novel in the context of Colquhoun’s other works and the cultural and spiritual environment in which she lived. The extensive notes will help the reader with any concepts that may be unfamiliar.

Le Corbusier and the Occult

Author: Jan Birksted
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262026481
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Revealing the secret sources of Le Corbusier's architecture--concealed by the architect and undiscovered by scholars until now.

Stages of Evil

Author: Robert Lima
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
ISBN: 9780813123622
Format: PDF
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“The evil that men do” has been chronicled for thousands of years on the European stage, and perhaps nowhere else is human fear of our own evil more detailed than in its personifications in theater. In Stages of Evil, Robert Lima explores the sociohistorical implications of Christian and pagan representations of evil and the theatrical creativity that occultism has engendered. By examining examples of alchemy, astronomy, demonology, exorcism, fairies, vampires, witchcraft, hauntings, and voodoo in prominent plays, Stages of Evil explores American and European perceptions of occultism from medieval times to the modern age.

The Alchemist

Author: Paulo Coelho
Publisher: HarperThorsons
ISBN: 9780008144227
Format: PDF, Kindle
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This is an adventure story about a young shepherd boy who learns how to live his dreams. This is a story which has been compared to the works of Richard Bach, and is aimed at the young and old alike.

Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts

Author: Herbert Silberer
Publisher: Courier Corporation
ISBN: 0486209725
Format: PDF, Kindle
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This thoughtful study, which antedates the work of Jung by a generation, represents the first serious attempt to correlate the methods of psychoanalysis with the literature of alchemy and of other great Western mystical and occult traditions. Dr. Silberer was a prominent member of the Vienna School whose untimely death prevented this, his major published work, from receiving the attention it clearly merited. Included is a wealth of material taken directly from alchemical and Rosicrucian sources. Symbolisms of salt, sulphur and mercury; of the prison, the abyss and the grave; of putrefaction and procreation; and of the sun, moon, and planets are carefully analyzed and explained. Passages from the works of Hermes Trismegistus, Flamel, Lacinius, Michael Meier, Paracelsus, and Boehme are cited both as important sources of alchemical doctrine and to substantiate the thesis that alchemy was a spiritual discipline of the highest order, comparable to the Yoga of the East. The entire inquiry is based on a parable from the pages of "Geheime Figuren der Rosenkreuzer," an l8th-century alchemical text. After a general exposition of dream and myth interpretation, Dr. Silberer proceeds to a psychoanalytic interpretation of the parable and then gives a detailed account of the traditions and practices of the alchemists, Rosicrucians, and Freemasons. Returning to the parable, he introduces the problem of dual interpretations; for while the psychoanalytic approach focuses on the depths of the impulsive life, the hermetic and mystical leads to the heights of spirituality. The heart of the book is an attempt to reconcile these divergent philosophies and a meditation on the relationship of introversion to mysticism.

Crucibles

Author: Bernard Jaffe
Publisher: Courier Corporation
ISBN: 0486141845
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Classic popular account of the great chemists Trevisan, Paracelsus, Avogadro, Mendeléeff, the Curies, Thomson, Lavoisier, and others, up to A-bomb research and recent work with subatomic particles. 20 illustrations.