Alchemy (and there by modern inorganic chemistry) stems from, rather is deeply rooted, in philosophy and the “philosopher’s stone” is a legendary substance or process that turns base metals into gold.
As I sat in the waiting room of my doctor’s office, the nearby magazines drew my attention. Attracted to the nerdy science mags over the plentiful Home and Garden, Time and People magazines available, my curiosity convinced me to nose through an article on alchemy and it’s connections to philosophy. I can’t seem to remember the name of the magazine or the title of the article that peaked my interest, but the internet is plentiful on the topic.
My high school and college years proved I had a knack for physics and astronomy, with not so great of skills in chemistry. I loved taking classes and learning about the history of astronomy and physics, stemming from the same philosophers and inventors of the Golden Age. The thinkers of yesteryear contemplated the workings of our universe from the stars in the night sky to the rich properties of gold to the concept of the self. They wanted to know everything and were convinced everything related, and they were not far off, well maybe on the whole philosopher’s stone thing.
Back in college, while studying about how stars form and people relate to each other, a friend handed me Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder, a great novel integrating the history of philosophy with a little girl’s life. The novel seriously messed with my thinking for about a week, then I read it again. With this recent discovery, I may just have to pick it up again!