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zoas23
07-13-2013, 01:49 AM
I was going to reply to a post by Salazius on the Spiritus Mundi thread... but hen I thought that it was unrelated to that specific thred:


Scientific theories can be helpful in order to have a better "inner" approach of the process, but it will never explain us how the sulfur appears, or how the mercurial part divvides itself, or how it generates a metallic principle, nor the most important philosophical one (God, Life, Light, Creation, etc).

What Salazis said made me think of something I often ask myself:

Is MODERN CHEMISTY important for Alchemy?

I must confess that I am quite ignorant when it comes to modern chemistry...
Do you think it is important to study modern chemistry?

My own answer is "no"... but, then again... I may be wrong, since I don't know much about modern chemistry, so I may not know what I am missing.

JDP
07-14-2013, 11:16 AM
I was going to reply to a post by Salazius on the Spiritus Mundi thread... but hen I thought that it was unrelated to that specific thred:



What Salazis said made me think of something I often ask myself:

Is MODERN CHEMISTY important for Alchemy?

I must confess that I am quite ignorant when it comes to modern chemistry...
Do you think it is important to study modern chemistry?

My own answer is "no"... but, then again... I may be wrong, since I don't know much about modern chemistry, so I may not know what I am missing.

Yes, it is very important to get acquainted with basic chemistry, specially assaying of gold and silver. It will teach you how to recognize real gold and silver and help you to not self-delude yourself into thinking you have succeeded when in fact you might more likely have not. Most alchemists from past centuries were well aware of assaying and would check if the results of their operations could withstand the tests of the assayers.

Acquaintance with many well-established chemical facts will also help you in estimating whether a given process has any potential interest or is just doomed to failure so that you should not waste too much of your time and money with it.

This same acquaintance will also help you to be on your guard regarding potentially dangerous reactions that may end up producing toxic or explosive results.

Hellin Hermetist
07-14-2013, 09:52 PM
Geber and Valentine were capable chemists for sure. And I call them chemists at the modern sense. Cylliani also has written that if he wasnt so experienced in chemistry, he should have never succeded in alchemy.

zoas23
07-14-2013, 10:42 PM
Thank you.
A long time ago I've read an article on this specific subject (impossible to remember the source)... it was an Alchemy vs. Chemistry article.
And the article mostly explained that a chemist was probably going to be 100% unable to practice Alchemy.

I may subscribe myself to some specific classes at the local Chemistry University then (It's free).
I've just seen that the first year has 5 classes:
-Organic Chemisty
-Inorganic Chemistry
-Maths
-Stats
-Algebra

Probably I should take the first two.

JDP
07-15-2013, 11:53 AM
Thank you.
A long time ago I've read an article on this specific subject (impossible to remember the source)... it was an Alchemy vs. Chemistry article.
And the article mostly explained that a chemist was probably going to be 100% unable to practice Alchemy.

I may subscribe myself to some specific classes at the local Chemistry University then (It's free).
I've just seen that the first year has 5 classes:
-Organic Chemisty
-Inorganic Chemistry
-Maths
-Stats
-Algebra

Probably I should take the first two.

By the way, when I said that getting acquainted with chemistry is good for anyone researching alchemy, I meant mostly the empirical facts gathered by this science, not so much its theories and speculations about matter. If you believe and accept them, then you are obviously wasting your time with alchemy (unless your interest in it is only of a historical kind), since chemistry's theories say that transmutation is simply impossible short of having a particle accelerator powerful enough to overcome the electron "barrier" which prevents the nucleus of an atom from being altered. All "chemical" phenomena occur, so the chemists believe, at the electron level of the atom, therefore the nucleus is never changed, and since the structure of the nucleus is what determines the identity of all "elements", no transmutation of one element into another can happen by means of reactions between substances. Ever since physics pretty much imposed its concepts about atomic structure on chemistry, transmutation by making substances react with one another has been deemed "impossible" by chemists. It is up to the skeptical investigator to find out whether these assurances by chemistry/physics really hold true for all "chemical" reactions (no exceptions), as they claim.

zoas23
07-15-2013, 08:56 PM
Thank you.

I think that I was in a hurry when I wrote my previous post.... because I forgot some sentences.

When I wrote:
"A long time ago I've read an article on this specific subject (impossible to remember the source)... it was an Alchemy vs. Chemistry article.
And the article mostly explained that a chemist was probably going to be 100% unable to practice Alchemy."

I forgot to add:
"So I kept this idea in my head and I never questioned it... but you brought me good examples showing me why it makes sense to know some chemistry".

I don't know why I have decided, until now.... to keep this article I've read as the only point of view on the subject, specially when I don't even remember who wrote it.

Hellin Hermetist
07-16-2013, 12:14 PM
I dont think that taking a university class shall be very helpful for your alchemical studies. I suggest to make a search at wikipedia or other chemical sites before you try any reaction and learn about the products and by-products and any possible danger that may occur during the reaction.

JDP
07-16-2013, 07:31 PM
I dont think that taking a university class shall be very helpful for your alchemical studies. I suggest to make a search at wikipedia or other chemical sites before you try any reaction and learn about the products and by-products and any possible danger that may occur during the reaction.

Indeed. Nowadays academic classes on basic chemistry revolve heavily on the theoretical/speculative side. Lots of lengthy discourse on atomic structure, "electron levels", valence, and so forth. Little that can be useful to someone making empirical investigations regarding transmutation as claimed by the alchemists and old "chymists"; namely: by submitting certain substances through a series of reactions.

To become acquainted with these empirical facts gathered by chemistry which can be very useful to the investigator of alchemy and the "chymistry" of the 17th-18th century (when transmutation claims were still very much alive and still defended by important writers -and even some university professors-, like Kunckel, Henckel, Creiling, Juncker, etc.), one does not need to enlist in any classes. All you need is access to good inorganic (and to a lesser extent organic) chemistry books, specially the older ones from the 19th and early 20th century, when descriptive/applied chemistry was still the primary concern of chemists and theories and speculations about matter took second stage.

Some useful suggestions:

1- Thorpe's Dictionary of Applied Chemistry

2- Watt's Dictionary of Chemistry

3- Gmelin's Handbook of Inorganic Chemistry

4- Mellor's Comprehensive Treatise on Inorganic Chemistry

5- Partington's A text-book of inorganic chemistry for university students

6- Fresenius' Qualitative Chemical Analysis

7- Prescott & Johnson's Qualitative Chemical Analysis

8- Jacobson & Hampel's Encyclopedia of Chemical Reactions

9- Roscoe & Schorlemmer's A Treatise on Chemistry

10- Most 19th century books on basic/introductory chemistry (like those of Benjamin Silliman, Thomas Thomson, etc.)

All these books have gathered a large mass of information on all sorts of chemical reactions, particularly involving metals, which can be very useful.

Hellin Hermetist
07-16-2013, 08:43 PM
These tomes shall also make excellent additions to anyone's library and they are free.

http://books.google.gr/books?id=NMRXAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=a+dictionary+of+chemistry+and+mineralogy&hl=el&sa=X&ei=p6_lUdu2McyBPaWYgeAL&redir_esc=y

http://books.google.gr/books?id=NxUAAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=casper+neumann&hl=el&sa=X&ei=RLDlUatBx7492LGByAY&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA

zoas23
07-16-2013, 10:16 PM
Thank you for the advice.

Andro
07-17-2013, 02:54 PM
I could have posted this in the 'Quotes' thread, but I feel it belongs better here...

From the TV series Dexter (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0773262/):


"When some elements come together, they create a reaction that can't be reversed... They transcend chemistry...
Is this what love feels like? Is this how it begins?"

This is most definitely valid for certain approaches to lab alchemy...

zoas23
07-17-2013, 07:35 PM
I could have posted this in the 'Quotes' thread, but I feel it belongs better here...
From the TV series Dexter (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0773262/):
This is most definitely valid for certain approaches to lab alchemy...

Thanks, Andro... !

I was thinking that there are several ways to transcend chemistry.

By the End of 2012 I was going through a "divorce" and mostly feeling that life has finished to me. So I told myself: "this is a nigredo feeling... I have to get out of it".
So I decided to make a salt, my first salt (a Melissa salt). For me, it was somehow like an "exorcism" (not an "exorcism of demons"... mostly an "exorcism" of a feeling).
I did a LOT of stupid things due to lack of experience... I also followed a lot of "recipes" that were in books, I've also asked for help here.
And after some 60 days I got my first salt... on 23rd January 2013.
And then I had my lovely salt, but I was still feeling like shit... all I had was salt in a flask... So I felt very happy for a few hours, and then kinda sad again... I felt silly for having had too much faith in an idea that sounded silly: that to get out of my personal nigredo, I needed to make a salt in a flask.
On the next day I received an unexpected email from a woman who lived in London. She wrote that on 26th January she was arriving to my city... we almost didn't know each other, we only knew that we had some similar interests in Art... so she asked me if I could show her some local museums. I told her that I could, that I could also host her at home if she didn't had a place to stay... since I am used to hosting for free artists who come from abroad (I did it 5 times).... and that she didn't have to worry about the fact that she was a woman and I was a man, because I wasn't going to be stalking her... and that my heart was too busy with my ex-girlfriend. She laughed at my honesty and accepted to stay at home.
We spent an afternoon gooing to Museums and we madly fell in love. The "personal nigredo" was absolutely gone. And I was feeling happier than I ever felt in my whole life.
... On the next day I realized that her first name is also one of the most usual names for the "Albus" phase.
You already know it, Andro, but your help was what made the difference for me (even if you probably think that making a Melissa salt is not really such a big deal in comparison to more complex operations).

... And that's how I learnt my first lesson in Lab Alchemy... I've learnt that Alchemy is a lady who refuses to live only inside a flask and her playground is by far bigger than just a tiny flask. Chemistry, of course, doesn't follow those ideas.

Then again, I know that making a salt is a very simply process compared to other possible procedures.... and that in a technical way, chemistry can explain the whole process inside the flask without any problems. Even if chemistry has no tools to explain what happened outside the flask, or why someone got obsessed with the idea of extracting a salt as a "divorce therapy" (I can accept the fact that I am a bit weird).

And I know that there are some other, more complex procedures, which involve making "inside the flask" some things that chemistry cannot explain.

But this thread made me think that it may be a good idea to learn some chemistry (in the same way that Modern Astronomy is interesting for someone who is into Astrology, even if most of the ideas that are the core base of Astrology have nothing to do with Astronomy).

BTW: I have a bet with a friend about Dexter's last/final episode.
I think that in the last episode he'll die, my friend thinks that he'll end up caught and in jail... What do you think that will happen to him? :P

Eshai
12-29-2013, 02:50 AM
Nowadays academic classes on basic chemistry revolve heavily on the theoretical/speculative side.
I know this is an older thread, but I wanted to give my perspective on this quote. This was not true for the university chemistry courses I have taken. The focus has been largely on mathematical applications for practical laboratory methods. A very small portion of the intro chemistry course discussed atomic models. Ask any professional chemist who works in a lab, and they will tell you they have virtually no need for electron valence bond theory and the like, and most courses reflect this.

I believe chemists who rely heavily on computer modeling for their research is a slightly different story, which I cannot really talk about because I do not know much about what they do.

JDP
12-29-2013, 12:35 PM
I know this is an older thread, but I wanted to give my perspective on this quote. This was not true for the university chemistry courses I have taken. The focus has been largely on mathematical applications for practical laboratory methods. A very small portion of the intro chemistry course discussed atomic models. Ask any professional chemist who works in a lab, and they will tell you they have virtually no need for electron valence bond theory and the like, and most courses reflect this.

I believe chemists who rely heavily on computer modeling for their research is a slightly different story, which I cannot really talk about because I do not know much about what they do.



If you examine popular modern university chemistry text-books, some typical examples of what I mean here:

Brown, LeMay & Bursten's "Chemistry - The Central Science"

Rayner-Canham & Overton's "Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry"

Russo & Silver's "Introductory Chemistry"


And compare them to the older literature on the subject already mentioned in the thread, you will readily see the sharp contrast. The majority of the modern university text-books are heavily concerned with theoretical concepts, not systematic descriptions of the actual results of all sorts of chemical procedures and reactions like the older ones are heavily concerned with. Partington's college inorganic chemistry text-book from the 1930s, for example, is almost an entirely different universe from these modern university text-books. You will find loads of information on the empirical results of a huge amount of chemical reactions in Partington's text-book that the modern text-books don't say a peep about. From the point of view of someone investigating "transmutation" by means of making substances react with one another (which is the way the alchemists/chymists of centuries past were working), the practically-minded older chemistry text-books are going to be infinitely more useful than the modern text-books and their heavy emphasis on theoretical/speculative concepts.

Eshai
12-29-2013, 04:18 PM
I see your point, JDP, and I do agree.

However, most professors at colleges do not teach from the text. Modern texts are little more than references and guides containing technical information. They are not really written to be instruction manuals, and in that regard they suck. You are correct that older text books are better at imparting practical information than the modern ones. A friend of mine loaned me chemistry book from the 60's, and it contained a vast amount of practical information regarding commonly used compounds. I vastly preferred it, because it was something you could actually read for enjoyment. It also contained addresses and phone numbers of chemical suppliers at the time, which told me that it was the sort of book that was meant to be taken into the lab after school--not a hallmark of today's text books.

Nevertheless, textbooks are not accurate reflections of coursework. The lecture courses at the university I attend goes hand-in-hand with the corresponding lab course, almost always focused on practical methods of application. It was the same at the technical college I attended before I went to my local university.

I would highly recommend that anyone interested in practical alchemy take a community college chemistry intro course, or technical college chemistry intro course, with a lab. You will learn a lot, and get a lot of good practice in the lab. Look at taking a night class, because they are typically smaller and you can more easily directly engage the instructor. Ideally, look for an adjunct instructor, because they are the ones who have actually worked in the field.

You do not have to buy the book they tell you to buy, or even subscribe to modern chemistry's models of matter. Simply take along whatever book you want, even if it is from the 30's. In fact, you will probably impress the instructor and he or she will be more likely to talk to you outside of class because of it, which I also highly recommend because you may very well learn an equal amount of useful information from such personal conversations.

JDP
12-29-2013, 05:26 PM
I see your point, JDP, and I do agree.

However, most professors at colleges do not teach from the text. Modern texts are little more than references and guides containing technical information. They are not really written to be instruction manuals, and in that regard they suck. You are correct that older text books are better at imparting practical information than the modern ones. A friend of mine loaned me chemistry book from the 60's, and it contained a vast amount of practical information regarding commonly used compounds. I vastly preferred it, because it was something you could actually read for enjoyment. It also contained addresses and phone numbers of chemical suppliers at the time, which told me that it was the sort of book that was meant to be taken into the lab after school--not a hallmark of today's text books.

Nevertheless, textbooks are not accurate reflections of coursework. The lecture courses at the university I attend goes hand-in-hand with the corresponding lab course, almost always focused on practical methods of application. It was the same at the technical college I attended before I went to my local university.

I would highly recommend that anyone interested in practical alchemy take a community college chemistry intro course, or technical college chemistry intro course, with a lab. You will learn a lot, and get a lot of good practice in the lab. Look at taking a night class, because they are typically smaller and you can more easily directly engage the instructor. Ideally, look for an adjunct instructor, because they are the ones who have actually worked in the field.

You do not have to buy the book they tell you to buy, or even subscribe to modern chemistry's models of matter. Simply take along whatever book you want, even if it is from the 30's. In fact, you will probably impress the instructor and he or she will be more likely to talk to you outside of class because of it, which I also highly recommend because you may very well learn an equal amount of useful information from such personal conversations.

If the teacher decides not to strictly follow the text-books, then I agree the university course could be more useful for a person with a more practical point of view in mind, but as long as the text-books are strictly followed you will be learning more about things like electron shells, for example, than what actually happens if, for example, you bubble chlorine gas through a green solution of ferrous chloride. For information regarding the results of actual reactions between a huge number of substances, many of which you will have to use in your alchemical/chymical investigations sooner or later, you will find way more of it in the older chemistry text-books.