Unbelieving Philosophers who were remodelling the world with words, and making card-towers of Babel to scale the skies with, talked with Unbelieving Chemists who had an eye on the transmutation of metals
, at this wonderful gathering accumulated by Monseigneur.
But the perplexity among philosophers about how sand and other elements became glass was a factor in the belief in the transmutation of metals
, including lead into gold.
In 1597 and again in 1606, German physician Andreas Libavius published the laboratory text, Alchemia, a scholarly work in academic Latin that expanded the processes of chemistry to include medicines, oils, and dyes, as well as the transmutation of metals
. (73) In the first few pages, he lists al-Razi among his many sources, probably one of the last chemists to do so.
It may seem curious that alchemy - a pre-modern chemical philosophy involving the transmutation of metals
- has proved a compelling subject for twentieth-century poets.
The topics weren't completely forbidden, because "some of the impossible things of today may become possible tomorrow." Indeed, the transmutation of metals
, long-range weather forecasting, and drugs for curing obesity have moved from Davis' list into serious scientific, and thus journalistic, consideration.
He promises large returns from transmutation of metals
, astrological prophecies, physical nostrums, or whatever seems most likely to entrap his victims.