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Author Topic: A L C H E M Y  (Read 1116 times)
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« on: August 02, 2007, 02:39:32 pm »


Chemistry (etymology)

The word Chemistry comes from the earlier study of Alchemy, which is basically the quest to make gold from earthen starting materials.
                                                                                                                                         As to the origin of the word “Alchemy” the question is a debatable one, it certainly has Greek origins, and some, following E. A. Wallis Budge, have also asserted Egyptian origins. Alchemy, generally, derives from the old French alkemie; and the Arabic al-kimia: "the art of transformation." Some scholars believe the Arabs borrowed the word “kimia” from the Greeks. Others, such as Mahdihassan, argue that its origins are Chinese. A tentative outline is as follows:

Egyptian alchemy [5,000 BC – 400 BCE]

Greek alchemy [332 BC – CE 642], the Greeks founded Alexandria and the world’s largest library

Chinese alchemy [142 CE], in the book The Kinship of the Three by Wei Boyang

Indian alchemy [200 CE-present], related to metallyrgy; Nagarjuna was an important alchemist

Islamic alchemy [642 - 1900 AD], the Arabs take over Alexandria; Jabir was the earliest chemist
European alchemy [1300 – Present], Saint Albertus Magnus builds on Arabic alchemy

Chemistry [1661], Boyle writes his classic chemistry text The Sceptical Chymist

Chemistry [1787], Lavoisier writes his classic Elements of Chemistry
Chemistry [1803], Dalton publishes his Atomic Theory

Thus, an alchemist was called a 'chemist' in popular speech, and later the suffix "-ry" was added to this to describe the art of the chemist as "chemistry".
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