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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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Nicolas Fatio de Duillier, Alchemical Collaborator

Nicolas Fatio de Duillier, Alchemical Collaborator

(p.367) Seventeen Nicolas Fatio de Duillier, Alchemical Collaborator
Newton the Alchemist

William R. Newman

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses Newton's collaborative chymical project with Nicolas Fatio de Duillier in 1693. By examining Fatio's hitherto unstudied letter to Newton from the summer of 1693 in conjunction with Newton's manuscript “Three Mysterious Fires”, the chapter shows that the latter text represents the fruit of an elaborate set of procedures devised by Newton in conjunction with Fatio. These processes were related to another set of operations from Newton that Fatio recapitulates in the aforementioned 1693 letter. The procedures that Fatio quotes from Newton provide an important key for understanding both Keynes 58 and the laboratory notebooks. In a word, they are simplified procedures for making such important desiderata as the caduceus of Mercury and the scythe of Saturn, Decknamen that arise in the records of Newton's experimentation and reading notes.

Keywords:   Isaac Newton, alchemy, scientific collaboration, chymistry, Nicolas Fatio de Duillier, Three Mysterious Fires, Keynes 58, caduceus of Mercury, scythe of Saturn

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