From the website:
Basil Valentine, Practica cum duodecim clavibus in Musaeum hermeticum reformatum et amplificatum (Frankfurt, 1678)
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Gold, Elixirs and Books of Secrets: A Brief History of Alchemy
An Illustrated Presentation By Dr. Anke Timmermann
Lecture at 5:30 PM in the Institute’s historic lecture hall
Museum open from 4:00 – 7:00 PM
Wagner Free Institute of Science
1700 West Montgomery Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19121
Alchemy, the ancient art of transforming matter, fueled the imagination of scholars, doctors and nobleman for hundreds of years. They believed that a truly worthy alchemist could produce the philosopher’s stone, a legendary substance that would make him wealthy, wise and near immortal. The experiments, books and events that paved the paths of alchemists throughout the ages not only make good stories, but also document a part of early science that is often misunderstood.
This talk will decipher the story of alchemy from its ancient beginnings through its medieval heyday to its eventual demise in the shadow of modern chemistry. Showing some beautiful and symbolic images from rare books, Anke Timmermann will explain how alchemists thought and worked, and why even they often had trouble figuring out what it all means.
Dr. Anke Timmermann is a historian of alchemy and the current Associate Director of the Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. Her research interests include the history of alchemy and medicine in medieval and early modern Europe. This program is part of the Year of Science.