Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

„Wie men ein Kupffer Ertz auff Kupfferstein probirn soll“ – Die chemische Probierkunst und ihre Sprache


Alberto, R (2012). „Wie men ein Kupffer Ertz auff Kupfferstein probirn soll“ – Die chemische Probierkunst und ihre Sprache. In: Burga, C A; Klötzli, F. Neujahrsblatt der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft Zürich. Zurich: Koprint AG, 1-44.

Abstract

The origin of chemistry and the art of chemical experiments are dating back very far in the history of mankind. We can hardly assign a time point as the beginning of chemistry but it can safely be stated that metallurgy, the preparation of copper or bronze and the discovery of black powder or firework were very probable among the first processes which carried the authenticities of chemical experiments in the modern sense. It is also certain that both were not created in one day but their discoveries progressed over long time periods before a reproducible process or a reliable product did settle. We may ask if modern man would be able to produce small quantities of copper from their ores and if he would even recognize what he did. How to produce black powder from natural products, how to mix them and in which ratios? This article glances at these questions and guides with a small foray through the history of chemistry and chemical experiments. Chemistry from those days is often, and misleadingly, identified with the art of making gold from cheaper metals. When inspecting the written works of many of the exponents of chemistry over the centuries, one must clearly state that they collected a huge amount of empirical knowledge which is, in its basic ideas, true chemistry. It only looks ridiculous or questionable since based on the strange scientific theories of those days. How, if ever, did our chemical ancestors transfer knowledge, what kind of language or symbols did they use to describe, for example the production of copper from ores? These questions are, besides the experimental skills and experiences, as important as chemistry itself. The concluding chapter is an attempt to answer this question with examples from literature over the time.

Abstract

The origin of chemistry and the art of chemical experiments are dating back very far in the history of mankind. We can hardly assign a time point as the beginning of chemistry but it can safely be stated that metallurgy, the preparation of copper or bronze and the discovery of black powder or firework were very probable among the first processes which carried the authenticities of chemical experiments in the modern sense. It is also certain that both were not created in one day but their discoveries progressed over long time periods before a reproducible process or a reliable product did settle. We may ask if modern man would be able to produce small quantities of copper from their ores and if he would even recognize what he did. How to produce black powder from natural products, how to mix them and in which ratios? This article glances at these questions and guides with a small foray through the history of chemistry and chemical experiments. Chemistry from those days is often, and misleadingly, identified with the art of making gold from cheaper metals. When inspecting the written works of many of the exponents of chemistry over the centuries, one must clearly state that they collected a huge amount of empirical knowledge which is, in its basic ideas, true chemistry. It only looks ridiculous or questionable since based on the strange scientific theories of those days. How, if ever, did our chemical ancestors transfer knowledge, what kind of language or symbols did they use to describe, for example the production of copper from ores? These questions are, besides the experimental skills and experiences, as important as chemistry itself. The concluding chapter is an attempt to answer this question with examples from literature over the time.

Statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:540 Chemistry
Date:2012
Deposited On:04 Mar 2013 14:12
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 20:16
Publisher:Koprint AG
Official URL:http://www.ngzh.ch/Neuj2013.html
Related URLs:http://www.ngzh.ch/NeuJahrA.html

Download

Full text not available from this repository.