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The Alchemical Revolution

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Science  20 May 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6032, pp. 914-915
DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6032.914

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A growing number of science historians hold that alchemists—"chymists" is their preferred, less-loaded term—were serious scientists who kept careful lab notes and followed the scientific method as well as any modern researcher and are testing that hypothesis by recreating their experiments. If the alchemists saw what they claimed, these researchers say, then it's high time for an "alchemical revolution" to restore them to scientific respectability. In the view of these advocates, alchemists have been unjustly ranked with witches and mountebank performers, when in fact they were educated men with limited tools for inquiring into the nature of the universe.