We tend to relate “alchemy” to dark and magical settings dedicated to the transformation of lead and copper into gold. Beyond the tales, however, lies a discipline that combines philosophy, chemistry, physics, astrology, metallurgy, mysticism and art — an outlook that resonates with current holistic approaches.
For centuries, alchemy was used in Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, and later on in the rest of Europe. There’s no doubt that its practice is a precursor to the scientific method: observing, measuring, documenting and maintaining a creative link between intuition and experimentation.
Modern science has re-established alchemy’s place through investigations by prominent scientists such as Stephen Hawking, who has declared that the idea of transmutation, the alchemical transformation of one element to another, was perhaps the first step in the right direction in the attempt to unveil the secrets of the universe.
Women alchemists played an essential role in scientific development. Even though their contributions have only begun to be recognized in recent years.