The Sceptical Chymist
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (October 2011)|
|The Sceptical Chymist|
The Sceptical Chymist: or Chymico-Physical Doubts & Paradoxes is the title of Robert Boyle's masterpiece of scientific literature, published in London in 1661. In the form of a dialogue, the Sceptical Chymist presented Boyle's hypothesis that matter consisted of atoms and clusters of atoms in motion and that every phenomenon was the result of collisions of particles in motion. For these reasons Robert Boyle has been called the founder of modern chemistry by J. R. Partington.
The first part begins with 5 friends (Carneades the host and the Skeptic, Philoponus the Chymist, Themistius the Aristotelian, Eleutherius[disambiguation needed] the impartial Judge and an unnamed narrator) meeting in Carneades's garden and chatting about the constituents of the mixed bodies.
Boyle first argued that fire is not a universal and sufficient analyzer of dividing all bodies into their contrary to Jean Beguin and Joseph Duchesne. To prove this he turned for support to Jan Baptist van Helmont whose Alkahest was reputed to be a universal analyzer.
Boyle rejected the Aristotelian theory of the four elements (earth, air, fire, and water) and also the three principles (salt, sulfur, and mercury) proposed by Paracelsus.
- Soul of the World! Inspir'd by thee,
- The jarring Seeds of Matter did agree,
- Thou didst the scatter'd Atoms bind,
- Which, by thy Laws of true proportion join'd,
- Made up of various Parts one perfect Harmony.
The Sceptical Chymist is referenced in QuickSilver (a novel by Neal Stephenson)
- Partington, J. R. (1951). A Short History of Chemistry. Macmillan. p. 67. (2nd edition)
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Scan of the 1661 edition, at archive.org
- Transcription of the book at Project Gutenberg
- In retrospect: The Sceptical Chymist Article by Lawrence Principe in Nature, January 5, 2011
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