EGMT 1520: Mercury to Gold

One of the pioneers of the scientific method was Robert Boyle, but before he became a famous scientist he was an alchemist who dabbled in the transmutation of metals. Isaac Newton spent half his life searching for the Philosopher’s stone, and while Galileo is praised as the father of modern science, he was also teaching astrology on the side. How can the foundations of modern science be rooted in unscientific methodology? In this course, we will investigate the alchemical beginnings of science, and evaluate how alchemy has translated into our modern understanding of chemistry, biology and physics. Through this course, we will examine original alchemical thought, the evidence of alchemy, and determine how alchemical claims were developed into what we know today. Additionally, we examine how alchemy has made its way into the current world we live in. We may have the scientific method and a more rigorous understanding of the current world, but can we find a way to turn mercury to gold, create an elixir of immortality, or create a way to cure any disease?