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Alchemy

Isaac Newton, like Albert Einstein, is a quintessential symbol of the human intellect and its ability to decode the secrets of nature. Newton's fundamental contributions to science include the quantification of gravitational attraction, the discovery that white light is actually a mixture of immutable spectral colors, and the formulation of the calculus. Yet there is another, more mysterious side to Newton that is imperfectly known, a realm of activity that spanned some thirty years of his life, although he kept it largely hidden from his contemporaries and colleagues.

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From Alchemy to Chemistry: Five Hundred Years of Rare and Interesting Books This website grew out of an exhibit held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Rare Book Room in April 2000. The Eastern Illinois Section of the American Chemical Society provided support for the construction of this website. The exhibit, "From Alchemy to Chemistry: 500 Years of Rare and Interesting Books," was co-curated by Tina Chrzastowski (Chemistry Librarian), Vera Mainz (Director, VOICE NMR Lab, School of Chemical Sciences), and Gregory Girolami (Professor of Chemistry).

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History of Medicine Harry Potter's World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine I n 1997, British author J. K. Rowling introduced the world to Harry Potter and a literary phenomenon was born. Millions of readers have followed Harry to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he discovers his heritage, encounters new plants and animals, and perfects his magical abilities. Although a fantasy story, the magic in the Harry Potter books is partially based on Renaissance traditions that played an important role in the development of Western science, including alchemy, astrology, and natural philosophy.

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“I have no Knowledge of it at all,” wrote Ezra Stiles of alchemy.  “I never saw Transmutation, the aurific Powder, nor the Philosophers Stone,” the early President of Yale College continued, “nor did I ever converse with an Adept knowing him to be such. ...

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