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Newton the Alchemist$
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William Newman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691174877

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691174877.001.0001

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Newton’s Early Alchemical Theoricae

Newton’s Early Alchemical Theoricae

Preliminary Considerations

(p.136) Seven Newton’s Early Alchemical Theoricae
Newton the Alchemist

William R. Newman

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on two remarkable treatises that Newton wrote in the period between 1670 and 1674, Humores minerales and Of Natures obvious laws & processes in vegetation, which provide a theoretical basis for much of his later practical work in chymistry. The importance of these short documents cannot be overstated, as they furnish an unparalleled glimpse into certain features of Newton's thought that implicitly underlie his chaotic corpus of reading notes, synopses, anthologies, indexes, and experimental records. While Humores minerales purveys Newton's response to the early modern fusion of alchemy and mining that led to a cyclical view of mineral generation and corruption, Of Natures obvious laws represents a further stage, a sort of chymical revery on the world.

Keywords:   Isaac Newton, treatise, Humores minerales, Of Natures obvious laws & processes in vegetation, alchemy, chymistry

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