June 14, 2006
Isaac Newton's "Alchemical Notebooks" Available Online
The Chymistry of Isaac Newton is producing a scholarly online edition of Newton's alchemical manuscripts integrated with new research on Newton's chymistry. To date, about seven hundred pages have been transcribed and encoded in TEI/XML. Of these, roughly six hundred have been edited and are available online, including Newton's Most Complete Laboratory Notebook.
Isaac Newton, like Albert Einstein, is a quintessential symbol of the human intellect and its ability to decode the secrets of nature. Newton's fundamental contributions to science include the quantification of gravitational attraction, the discovery that white light is actually a mixture of immutable spectral colors, and the formulation of the calculus. Yet there is another, more mysterious side to Newton that is imperfectly known, a realm of activity that spanned some thirty years of his life, although he kept it largely hidden from his contemporaries and colleagues. We refer to Newton's involvement in the discipline of alchemy, or as it was often called in seventeenth-century England, "chymistry."(VIA: Librarian In Black, April 14, 2006)