13 Jan: Henry IV and the Philosopher’s Stone

It was today in history in 1404 that Henry IV issued the Act Against Multipliers, a ban on the mysterious art of creating or duplicating gold, more commonly known as alchemy.

It came at an odd time for European science because the widespread efforts to transform so-called base metals, such as lead or copper, into noble metals, such as silver or gold, while futile, actually aided the discovery of things like combustion and gunpowder.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly discuss the connection between the science of multiplying metals and religion; explain why the Ancient Greek notion of the four elements – fire, earth, air, and water – was so resilient; and reveal why plenty of people before Harry Potter were interested in the Philosopher’s Stone…

Further Reading:

• ‘When Chemistry Was Outlawed’ (Vice, 2015): https://www.vice.com/en/article/3dk7mj/when-chemistry-was-outlawed

• ‘The Day England Outlawed Alchemy’ (Forbes, 2018): https://www.forbes.com/sites/kionasmith/2018/01/13/the-day-england-outlawed-alchemy/?sh=11c1170539bd

• ‘How Alchemy Led to Modern-Day Chemistry & Medicine’ (SciShow, 2022): 

#1400s #UK #Science