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The Chemistry of Alchemy: From Dragon's Blood to Donkey Dung, How Chemistry Was Forged Hardcover – July 1, 2014

ISBN-13: 978-1616149154 ISBN-10: 1616149159

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (July 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616149159
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616149154
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #340,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Twenty-first-century safety standards are mixed with fourteenth-century experiments in a breezy exposition. The discussion of ‘proof by authority’ not only illuminates the sources of the philosophers’ stone but also suggests that similar thinking is active in modern politics and religion. This is the first account of alchemy I have seen that I would characterize as both light and enlightening reading. The chemical experiments may not be as flashy as they would have been centuries (or even decades) ago, but they’re colorful enough to be preferable to most currently available home chemistry sets. The description of isolating sal ammoniac from natural sources will leave the reader in stitches if not in stenches.”
—Alexander Scheeline, emeritus professor of chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


“The authors have removed alchemy from the realm of magic to show the actual chemistry behind it, and include experiments the reader can do at home.”
 
—John A. Pojman, PhD, professor of chemistry, Louisiana State University

The Chemistry of Alchemy gives the chemist’s perspective, in nontechnical language, to the core history of alchemy and its importance to modern chemistry. Selected works illustrating key concepts from alchemy are reproduced in carefully designed experiments throughout the book. The alchemists’ quest for gold was not in vain, as they contributed and refined many scientific concepts we have today.”
 
—Stephen L. Crump, PhD, Savannah River National Laboratory
 

About the Author

Cathy Cobb is the author of The Joy of Chemistry (with Monty L. Fetterolf); Crime Scene Chemistry for the Armchair Sleuth (with Monty L. Fetterolf and Jack G. Goldsmith); Magick, Mayhem, and Mavericks; and Creations of Fire (with Harold Goldwhite). She is an instructor of chemistry, physics, and calculus at Mead Hall School in Aiken, South Carolina. 

Monty L. Fetterolf is the author of The Joy of Chemistry (with Cathy Cobb); Crime Scene Chemistry for the Armchair Sleuth (with Cathy Cobb and Jack G. Goldsmith). He is a professor of chemistry and the department chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physics at the University of South Carolina at Aiken. 

Harold Goldwhite, emeritus professor of chemistry at California State University, Los Angeles, is the author of eight textbooks on chemistry, and Creations of Fire (with Cathy Cobb).

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rue23 on July 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If your image of Chemistry is one of dull formulas and droning professors this book will absolutely change your mind! The zest and zeal the authors have for their field is palpable on every page as they take the reader back to the earliest days of alchemy.
In the search for a way to make gold from other materials, the pioneers of alchemy made important discoveries about the nature of physical substances that are still pertinent today.
Cobb and her co-authors bring these ancient alchemists to life and blow the (gold) dust off the history of chemistry making it vivid and enchanting.
Each chapter in this lucid text concludes with a experiment well within the reach of the home amateur chemist ; I haven't tried any myself yet but the authors really make it enticing.
Anyone who's a modern chemist, amateur or professional, will be fascinated by uncovering the roots of this science and seeing how many modern concepts we owe to these ancestors.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By W on August 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover
fascinating read.
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