Tags: isaac newton | philosophers | stone | recipe

Isaac Newton's Philosopher's Stone Recipe to Be Made Available Online

Image: Isaac Newton's Philosopher's Stone Recipe to Be Made Available Online
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By    |   Friday, 08 Apr 2016 11:04 AM

Isaac Newton's philosopher's stone manuscript, a 17th-century document that details how to concoct the substance later popularized by "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling, has been rediscovered and will be made available online.

The handwritten document includes a recipe for "philosophic" mercury (also called “sophick” mercury) copied from American chemist George Starkey, LiveScience.com reported. Alchemists believed the substance had magical properties and could be used to transform lead into gold and help humans achieve immortality.

While the discovery is drawing attention in popular culture for its "Harry Potter" connection, scientists have other interests in the recipe.

"This manuscript is of great interest to us because it is part of Isaac Newton’s alchemical activity," James Voelkel, the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s curator of rare books, told LiveScience.com. "It's a sign of his readings, interest, and experiments in alchemy.”

It also shows a connection between the famed physicist, who was known for his studies of gravity and motion, and another renowned scientist.

"This manuscript links Newton's alchemical practice to the American figure George Starkey," Voelkel said. "He's probably America's first renowned, published scientist."

The Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia bought the manuscript at an auction in February and will be posting digital images of the text online.

Throughout his life, Newton wrote more than a million words about alchemy, which is commonly dismissed as a pseudoscience, National Geographic reported.

Newton’s alchemy works were ignored, and Cambridge University turned down an opportunity to archive his alchemy recipes.

The manuscript may predate a recipe for sophick mercury that Starkey published in 1678, Fox News reported.

“We can tell this from Newton’s comments in square brackets that either expand abbreviations in the other manuscript or correct it,” Voelkel explained.

The back of the manuscript also includes unrelated notes written by Newton.

“Like many of us, when Newton needed a place to jot something down, he would sometimes just turn over a manuscript and write on the blank page on the back,” Voelkel said, according to Fox News.

Twitter users had mixed reactions to the rediscovered manuscript.








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Isaac Newton's philosopher's stone manuscript, a 17th-century document that details how to concoct the substance later popularized by "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling, has been rediscovered and will be made available online.
isaac newton, philosophers, stone, recipe
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2016-04-08
Friday, 08 Apr 2016 11:04 AM
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