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Alchemy Timeline

History of Alchemy

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Jabir ibn Hayyan applied an experimental scientific approach to alchemy.

Jabir ibn Hayyan sometimes is considered to be the 'father of chemistry'. He applied an experimental scientific approach to alchemy.

15th c. European portrait of "Geber"
Alchemy has been practiced in many countries, with a history stretching back over 2500 years. Here is an abbreviated timeline or history of alchemy.
  1. Egyptian alchemy [5000 BC – 400 BC], Alchemy is believed to have originated in Egypt.

     

  2. Indian alchemy [1200 BC – Present], Indian alchemy was strongly related to metallurgy. Nagarjuna was an important Indian alchemist. Alchemy continues to be practiced in India.

     

  3. Greek alchemy [332 BC – 642 AD], The Greeks studied alchemy at the Library of Alexandria.

     

  4. Chinese alchemy [142 AD], Wei Boyang wrote The Kinship of the Three

     

  5. Islamic alchemy [700 – 1400], Islamic alchemy was systematic and had much in common with the science of chemistry. Jābir ibn Hayyān developed an experimental method for alchemy during the Islamic Golden Age.

     

  6. Islamic chemistry [800 – Present], The Islamic study transitioned from classical alchemy into modern chemistry. Alkindus and Avicenna refuted transmutation, Rhazes refuted the four classical elements, and Tusi discovered conservation of mass.

     

  7. European alchemy [1300 – Present], European alchemists, such as Saint Albertus Magnus, built upon the foundations of Islamic alchemy. Alchemy is practiced in Europe and in the Western world in modern times.

     

  8. European chemistry [1661 – Present], Alchemy and chemistry began to diverge. Lavoisier wrote Traité Élémentaire de Chimie (Elements of Chemistry), Boyle wrote The Sceptical Chymist, and Dalton published his Atomic Theory.

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