fbpx
Carrello vuoto


logo Nitrogeno Blog

Martedì, 01 Agosto 2017 11:04

Philosophical Transactions

To begin with Alchemy and Culture we should take a look at all those cultural organizations which made the difference in the cultural heritage of our world, due to science, philosophy, art, religion, collecting, archiving or researching reasons.

We start with the Royal Society, a controversial but fundamental step for the knowledge of operative alchemy in England and the home of Fludd, Boyle, Newton and a lot of other philosophers.

It was twenty five years ago when I met Tim Addey, his family and friends in Frome, Somerset, not far from London. They still organize an active Platonic community and publish important texts of the same tradition, including masterpieces of Thomas Taylor, the Neo-Platonist of the eighteenth century.

My first encounter with the Royal Society in London took place because of philosophy and alchemy I was researching about in those days, when there were no web, wikipedia, very few computers and a lot of very expensive antique books in my dreams.

On a couple of occasions, looking for some old books in the Royal Society Library, I was stunned by the impeccable service of this glorious institution.

Amiably arguing with Tim Addey about philosophy, I noticed his great philosophical training, and we lingered on the life of the philosopher Plotinus, a spiritual teacher of the third-century Rome, from whom the Christians profusely started their theology and Porfirio received the most complete philosophical teaching available at that time; in fact we came to know Plotinus’ teachings thanks to Porfirio’s stilus.

We will talk about this topic later on, since Thomas Taylor discovered something about the transmission of knowledge Addey explained me, and which completely matched with my comprehension of the relationship between Aristoteles and Plato and of the acroamatic teaching.

With my great satisfaction, I also found at the Royal Society in London a text of Taylor right on Plotinus, not included in the collection Addey and his friends had taken care of.

I advise you to have a look at their rich publishing house and website.

So far for all these gifted English philosophers of different centuries[1].

The Royal Society and the Philosophical Transactions[2]

An institutional presentation states…

“In 1662, the newly formed 'Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge' was granted a charter to publish by King Charles II and on 6 March 1665, the first issue of Philosophical Transactions was published under the visionary editorship of Henry Oldenburg, who was also the Secretary of the Society. The first volumes of what was the world's first scientific journal were very different from today's journal, but in essence it served the same function; namely to inform the Fellows of the Society and other interested readers of the latest scientific discoveries. As such, Philosophical Transactions established the important principles of scientific priority and peer review, which have become the central foundations of scientific journals ever since. In 1886, the breadth and scope of scientific discovery had increased to such an extent that it became necessary to divide the journal into two, Philosophical Transactions A and B, covering the physical sciences and the life sciences respectively.”

Let’s say that the Royal Society foundation (1660) has been a seal of the restoration of monarchy in England after the death of the revolutionary Oliver Cromwell that beheaded King Charles I. His son, Charles II, wanted to “improve the natural knowledge”; this happened to be not so a double meaning phrase since, after two centuries, the orientation of the journal turned towards plain physics and biology, as we may read in the institutional presentation.

We can get the first glimpses of the ancient meaning of this institution when we consider their paracelsian sounding motto 'Nullius in verba', i.e. 'take nobody's word for it' and, of course, the use of the word “philosophical”.

They were times of great change, we are not asserting that the Royal Society had already deployed against Galen, on the contrary; we'll talk about the next issue dealing with Harvey, Fludd and companions.

We are actually writing about the Philosophical Transaction since in the pages of this journal a some alchemists wrote, debated, argued and explored what we will then call “chemistry” and “science” but that at those times was, in fact, something highly philosophical that needed peculiar but precise …transactions.

The beginning of the alchemic quest connected to the Philosophical Transactions took place when, in the late 1650, Robert Boyle was introduced to a circle of natural philosophers, writers, entrepreneurs all connected to Samuel Hartlib, a Prussian visionary traveller. His circle has been considered one of the foundations of the Royal Society which was to be established ten years later.

Hartlib collected his and other’s correspondence, diary and notes about science, theology, philosophy, and titled Ephemerides all this mass of insights and information.

The Prussian visionary genius was a researcher about Bacon, Paracelsus and Comenius’ approaches to civilization and thought; it has been stated[3] that his work could be compared to modern internet search engines, since Hartlib had the aim "to record all human knowledge and to make it universally available for the education of all mankind".

philosophical 2

Robert Boyle discussed with Hartlib about the writings of Thomas Norton, a XV-century English alchemist, and met at the circle his main alchemy mentor, teacher and inspiration, George Starkey, another traveller but from Bermuda and from United States, where he graduated from Harvard.

George Starkey is widely known to the alchemists as Eirenaeus Philalethes and was such a committed, quite compulsive practitioner of alchemy, that his friends, seeing his health worsening and his skin whitening, often compelled him to stop experimenting, to sleep and at least open a window in his laboratory, not provided by any extractor fan, fireplace or ventilation, nor window.

In Boyle’s own philosophical diary we find some considerations about the distillation of antimony using sal armoniac, as we discussed in the article “Nushadir”, contained in this issue of Nitrogeno. From Hartlib’s diary we come to know that this process had been explained by Starkey to Boyle, and that Boyle would never admit nor show any gratitude about.

About sal armoniac Hartlib adds some funny considerations about the possible economic benefit resulting from showing the experiment of cooling liquids with ammonium chloride during the hottest days of the Italian summer, where the cardinals pay large amounts of money to have their drinks cooled.

On the Philosophical Transactions we can find[4] some Boyle’s observations about a prepared mercury becoming hot when mixed with gold, an experiment taken from the Starkey repertoire but never admitted by Boyle yet.

In the next issue we will write the reason why Newton had early his hair completely white and we will write about Philosophical Transactions, Royal Society, the Royal College of Physicians, Thomas Norton, Isaac Newton, Robert Fludd, Elias Ashmole, Mary Fairfax Somerville and other philosophers.

philosophical 3

1. Prometheus Trust www.prometheustrust.co.uk

2. Royal Society page rstl.royalsocietypublishing.org

3. Anton Tantner, historian and lecturer at the University of Vienna.

4. Alchemy Tried in the Fire: Starkey, Boyle, and the Fate of Helmontian Chymistry by William R. Newman, Lawrence M. Principe, University of Chicago Press, 2005

Letto 3100 volte

Informazioni aggiuntive

Articoli correlati (da tag)

  • Cucinare se stessi. Sul comportamento e sulla condizione dei miei corpi Cucinare se stessi. Sul comportamento e sulla condizione dei miei corpi

    È da parecchi anni che mi dedico al cibo, osservando come esso influisca sul comportamento e sulla condizione dei miei corpi.

  • Castelot and Ballandras made gold while nobody cared Castelot and Ballandras made gold while nobody cared

    The twenties, Nice, France... Gold! This article comes from a French review that dates from 1927, written by Andre Ibels for the Nouveau Journal de Nice At the end of the five chapters of the article you will find the protestation by a Professor of Engineering at the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers in Paris, that accused the scientists of her time of being cowardly.

    We took the article from the Adam Mc Lean website1, probably the best site of alchemy ever. The article was written by Mark House, an American researcher in alchemy, who in the next issue of NitroGeno will write a commentary about this text and the experiments that took place.

    How i succeeded in making gold according to the process of mr. Jollivet Castelot - December 1925
    By A. Ballandras

    Dosage of Gold obtained by the second method.

    The residue, which had been obtained by a mixture of:

    • Silver 10 grams
    • Tin 3 grams
    • Arsenic sulphide 3 grams
    • Antimony sulphide 3 grams

    was crushed as much as possible and subdued (read: subjected) to a treatment of pure chloric acid like in the first method. [Here is a reference to a first method - not presented here - the above being the second method presented by Ballandras from a text, the name and size of which is unknown to me.] However, to completely eliminate the silver and the tin employer, I scrupled to begin the indicated treatments, that is to say that the powder which was obtained having been subdued first to the action of azotic acid then washed with distillated water, then subdued to the action of chloric acid, then once more washed with distillated water, and these different operations were begun once more with another portion of pure azotic acid, and another portion of pure chloric acid after having carefully washed the insoluble residue was subdued to the prolonged action of aqua regalis following:

    Chloric acid - 15 parts/ Azotic acid - 4-5 parts.

    It must be noted that this thing happened during the ebullition (bubbling; boiling) The washed residue contained the slighter part of gold, this thing would be found dissolved in the last liquor, which I obtained. After 18 hours of digestion at the temperature of about 25 degrees, I subdued the mixture to ebullition during 3 hours. After refrigeration, I filtered this on wool of glass and I looked to see if parts were not drawn along in suspense. Finding nothing I proceeded with an analysis of the liquor which I obtained. For that month I made two parts strictly equal of the liquor, the first being destined to qualitative analysis, the other quantitative.

    A) Qualitative Analysis: Assay of usual reagents:

    • Chloride of Tin - Rose colored precipitate
    • Pure Soda in solution - Voluminous yellow reddish precipitate
    • Sulfate of Iron - During ebullition, metallic precipitate, greenish black very dense spangles.

    B) Quantitative Analysis:

    The second part of the liquor destined to undergo quantitative analysis was treated by H2S when the most important part of chloric and azotic acids were driven out by a prolonged ebullition.

    This time the liquor was slightly acid and had a weak smell of chlorine. I called H2S into action; about 20 minutes long. The black precipitate which I obtained was received by a filter paper carefully washed first with well distillated water, then with hot water and at last with chloric acid. After drying in the vapor-bath, the precipitate was put in a capsule of porcelain and heated in a mould at about 850 degrees, so as to destroy the sulphides precipitated with gold i.e., the arsenic and the antimony. These were naturally decomposed by the temperature of 850 degrees to which it had been subdued during two hours. The quantity of gold obtained was 0.238 grains. The half of the liquor having served for the dissolution having been turned to good use for the qualitative analysis it followed that the whole quantity of gold contained in the original liquor should be equal to double the quantity obtained. i.e., 0.476 grains of gold per 10 grams of silver employed, yield then was 0.476 grains of gold per gram silver. {I must point out that the obtaining of gold is not a mathematical regularity, that is to say, the purport (proportion) of residue changes according to the conditions of heating.}

    old drugstore

    2) Dry method

    I acted on 22 grains of chemically pure silver supplied by Messrs. Poulenc of Paris and on 3.5 grains of chemically pure orpiment supplied by the Pharmacie Central of Paris. The mixture was heated to about 1600 C in a metal smelting furnace for about ¾ hour. The residue obtained was again melted for an hour with the addition of orpiment, after having been hammered for half an hour and re-melted with the addition of small quantities of orpiment every 10 minutes, it was withdrawn. After cooling and the addition of chemically pure antimony sulphide, it was again put back into the furnace, small quantities of orpiment being thrown in every 5 minutes. The residue obtained had a dark metallic tint, after hammering it became slightly golden.

    Analysis of the Residue

    The residue dissolved in chemically pure 36 degree HNO3 first cold and then hot, gave an abundant pulverulent deposit. This deposit after being washed and treated with HN3 to dissolve the arsenic and antimony salts was completely dissolved in aqua regia. The liquor after being chlorinated and filtered was subjected to the reagents of Platinum and gold.

    Mr. Andre Vandenberghe who was acting as preparator for this experiment, had thought that in accordance with the law of evolution of matter, the transmutation of bodies into gold should be preceded or accompanied by their transmutation into platinum. According to Mendeleiev’s progression, we have Pt - 195.2 and Au - 197.2

    The reactions of gold were quite characteristic; the reactions of platinum also seemed to reveal its presence. The quantity of gold obtained in this experiment was estimated at about one gram. I emit the hypothesis that the arsenic acts as a catalyzer and the sulphur as a ferment in this transmutation.

    Jollivet Castelot, Douai, December 1925

    A recent experiment in transmutation

    By M. Jollivet Castelot

    All my research work on transmutation since 1908 has started from the fact that gold is found in nature associated with antimony and arsenic sulphides as well as with Tellurium which is considered as the mineralizer of gold. I therefore considered it logical to introduce Tellurium into the artificial combination of silver and arsenic and antimony sulphides that I make. The following is an account of one of my recent experiments:bI prepared a mixture composed of 6 grams of chemically pure silver, 1 gram of native orpiment (Arsenic trisulphide A52S3) free from gold, 1 gram of chemically pure antimony sulphide, and 2 grams of chemically pure Tellurium. I added pure silica to the usual fluxes. This mixture was heated in the furnace in the usual way for one hour at a temperature of 1100 C (approximately) [note: parenthesis are not mine AMWH].

    The residue obtained was of a blackish grey color with violet reflections. It weighed 6.420 grains. When subjected to the action of nitric acid, the residue was attacked with difficulty and greenish metallic particles became detached. The solution was then decanted and a greenish-yellow residue remained which was kept at the boiling point in nitric acid for several hours, after decanting off the liquor once again, the residue, which had not changed, was washed, treated with ammonia and then subjected to the action of aqua regia in which it was entirely dissolved after boiling for several hours.

    The solution after being chlorinated and then subjected to the reagents of gold, gave the following:

    • Potassium Ferrocyanide - greenish brown coloration.
    • Tin Protochloride + Tin Bichloride - a yellow bronze coloration and then a metallic deposit of the same shade.
    • Ammonia - coloration and precipitate identical with the preceding one and which became transformed into a yellow deposit of fulminating gold at the end of a few hours.
    • Formol - light yellowish black metallic precipitate.
    • Peroxide of Hydrogen - light very finely divided brownish black precipitate.
    • Oxalic acid - yellowish black precipitate.
    • Ferrous Sulphate - golden yellow metallic precipitate.
    • Caustic Potash - a fairly abundant golden yellow metallic precipitate at the end of a few hours.

    The presence of gold was therefore very distinctly shown and a remarkable feature was that the metal obtained possessed the yellow bronze color of gold telluride and of native silver. I had therefore produced a bronze colored gold in my laboratory by artificial means thanks to the intervention of the Tellurium.

    “A certain amount of gold was certainly lost in this test as in all my previous tests, for it is known that arsenic, antimony and Tellurium entrain gold in their fusion and their volatilization. In order to obviate this disadvantage, I had thought of making the vapors of arsenic and antimony sulphides and of Tellurium act on the silver in fusion in a closed vessel by means of a special device, but I have been forced to give up this scheme for the time being on account of the difficulties met with for the construction of this apparatus, the cost of which would be very high. I consider it certain that if the vapors were allowed to bubble through the melted silver, a much higher yield of gold would be obtained than that I have obtained hitherto by an imperfect and too rapid contact of the bodies in presence; while it is undoubtedly necessary to make them react on one another in the state of vapor in a closed vessel.” Jollivet Castelot, Douai, April 24th, 1926

    The chemical manufacture of gold account of one of my last experiments in the transmutation of silver into gold

    As a sequel to my previous work on the artificial synthesis of gold, I have introduced Tin into these new tests as it is also often associated with gold in nature. The following is a description of this new process, thanks to which the percentage of gold obtained destroys all the objections that are raised with regard to impurities.

    I made an intimate mixture of 6 grams of chemically pure silver of which the purity was tested by a professional chemist, the Head of the laboratory of one of the most important Works of the region. 2 Grams of antimony sulphide, 1 gram of orpiment, and 1 gram of Tin; all these bodies were obtained from the Establishment Poulenc of Paris and were chemically pure. I added the usual fluxes and then heated the whole in a crucible in the furnace to about 1100 C fort2 about 1 hour, twice adding a small quantity of antimony sulphide.

    The residue obtained was treated for a long period in pure 36 degree nitric acid, first cold and then at the boiling point.

    The insoluble residue was next washed with distilled water, treated with ammonia, washed again and finally treated for a long period with boiling aqua regia. The liquor when filtered and subjected to the reagents of gold showed the presence of this metal in the form of deposits3 which maybe estimated at 0.05 grains in all, which is very high considering the 6 grams of silver employed.

    With Oxalic acid, the solution turned violet and gave an abundant black pulverulent precipitate.

    With Hydrogen Peroxide, a very finely divided precipitate of gold.

    With Formic Aldehyde, a brown precipitate of gold.

    With Tin Protochloride, an intense violet pink coloration.

    The addition of Tin to the other bodies has certainly facilitated the reactions of the gold and increased the yield of this metal which can be manufactured artificially by my process.

    It would be easy to show that, given the respective prices of gold and of the other substances that are used in my process to produce it, a profit could be obtained if the process were worked industrially; all the more so as the greater part of the silver employed can be recovered at each test.

    I believe I now hold the key to the regular and even industrial manufacture of gold. But the industrial question is voluntarily put aside from my thoughts, for my only object is the search for pure scientific truth.
    Jolivet Castelot, Douai, April 15th, 1927

    Table of reactions

    “GOLD”

    • C2H2O4 - Abundant deposit of metallic gold.
    • H2O2 (basic) - Brown precipitate.
    • K4 Fe Cy6 . 3H2O - Green coloration.
    • Na2CO3 (in ebullition) - Brownish precipitate.
    • “PLATINUM & GOLD”
    • NH3 - Reddish yellow precipitate (Au); topped by a yellow precipitate (Pt).
    • KOH - Reddish yellow precipitate (Au); topped by a yellow precipitate (Pt).
    • SnCL2.2H2O - Solution colored brown with reactions of platinum salts and deposit of black powder.
    • KI - Solution becomes reddish followed by a discharge of iodine and a brown precipitate (Platinum iodide).

    Extracts from the press

    “It must be admitted that it is extraordinary and incomprehensible that France for the past ten years has refused to take an interest in the experiments of a rich and universally respected scientist who has given proofs of his worth, even after the conclusive experiments carried out by an official chemist, Mr Ballandras of Lyons.”
    Andre Ibels, La Razon, June 8, 1927

    It is unjust, gentlemen, that a scientist of the value of Mr. Jollivet Castelot should be held in suspicion at the very moment when he is losing his sight through overwork. To continue his work, however embarrassing it may be to yours, is a sacred duty.”
    Declaration by Mademoiselle M.L. of Paris. Professor of Engineering at the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers, Paris, at the Chemical Congress in Paris. October 1927

    “Oh! it is not that Mr. Jollivet Castelot has not attempted to make his invention known in France, on the contrary, he has written leaflets and books and has founded reviews for this purpose... Not only was he not taken seriously, but he was also a butt to the sarcasm and even to the insults of the official scientists in general and of the Nobelist Perrin in particular. The Acedemie des Sciences itself - as usual - refused to record his communication.”
    Andre Ibels, Nouveau Journal de Nice, October 16, 1927

  • On making gold yesterday. Tradition, ethics, history On making gold yesterday. Tradition, ethics, history

    It is essential not to fall into the incorrect idea of believing that alchemy only means “to make gold”, as we have already explained in the editorial, and we invite everyone to read it because it contains all the ethics of the science/art in just a few sentences.

  • Nevertheless, we can make Gold, absolutely Nevertheless, we can make Gold, absolutely

    To create Gold through Alchemy is just like free climbing a very steep cliff without any safety lock, a situation where the handholds are few, tilted and small.

Altro in questa categoria: A permanent culture »

Lascia un commento

Assicurati di aver digitato tutte le informazioni richieste, evidenziate da un asterisco (*). Non è consentito codice HTML.

ISCRIVITI ORA ALLA NOSTRA NEWSLETTER!

Rimani aggiornato su News - Iniziative - Offerte!

x