Lawrence M. Principe

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External video
Lawrence Principe crop 2012 CHF Science Secularization 035.jpg
Lawrence Principe on chemical history and "The Secrets of Alchemy"
Lawrence Principe discusses Thomas Wijck's "Alchemist in his Studio" , 2012, Chemical Heritage Foundation

Lawrence M. Principe is the Drew Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University in the Department of History of Science and Technology and the Department of Chemistry.[1] He earned undergraduate degrees at the University of Delaware (B.A. Liberal Studies, 1983; B.S. Chemistry, 1983) and did his graduate work at Indiana University (Ph.D. Organic Chemistry, 1988) and at Johns Hopkins (Ph.D. History of Science, 1996). He is the first recipient of the Francis Bacon Medal for significant contributions to the history of science.[2]

Principe's studies concern the early history of chemistry, particularly alchemy. His early studies focused particularly on the works of Robert Boyle, especially their connection to the earlier study of alchemy.[3][4] His book The Aspiring Adept: Robert Boyle and His Alchemical Quest (Princeton, 1998) makes the case that Boyle was himself active as an alchemist.[5] His later book with William R. Newman, Alchemy Tried in the Fire: Starkey, Boyle, and the Fate of Helmontian Chymistry (University of Chicago Press, 2002) also promotes the continuity between alchemy and chemistry and was awarded the Pfizer Prize by the History of Science Society in 2005.[6] His most recent book, The Secrets of Alchemy (University of Chicago Press, 2013), provides a survey of the history of alchemy and includes explanations and replications of alchemical processes. [7]


  1. ^ Drew Professorship, Johns Hopkins University, retrieved 2011-06-23.
  2. ^ The Francis Bacon Award in the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, California Institute of Technology, retrieved 2011-06-23.
  3. ^ Browne, Malcolm W. (April 10, 1990), In Alchemists' Notes, Clues to Modern Chemistry, New York Times .
  4. ^ Wilford, John Noble (August 1, 2006), Transforming the Alchemists, New York Times .
  5. ^ Keiger, Dale (February 1999), All That Glitters..., Johns Hopkins Magazine .
  6. ^ Review of Alchemy Tried in the Fire by Rose-Mary Sargent (2004), Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (1): 104–105.
  7. ^ Review of Secrets of Alchemy by Anthony Grafton, Science 338, pp. 1540-1 (21 December 2012), and