Chapter

. A New Alchemy

Michael Brian Schiffer

in Draw the Lightning Down

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780520238022
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520939851 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520238022.003.0010
. A New Alchemy

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This chapter investigates the significant role of electrical technology in chemistry. It specifically addresses that new alchemists incorporated electrical technology into chemical experiments. The chapter also highlights the studies performed by the new alchemists and describes their electrical technologies. A fascinating instrument, the “electrical air thermometer” has generated much confusion over the years on the basis that it was supposed to measure air temperature. It served admirably as a specialized device for vanquishing the first cold fusion. Electricity provoked both calcination and combustion, two processes that had preoccupied chemical theorists for centuries. Volta's invention of the electrochemical battery traditionally serves as both an end and a beginning for electrical technology. It was a momentous beginning, for the descendants of these technologies are central to life in the modern electrical world.

Keywords: electrical technology; chemistry; new alchemists; electrical air thermometer; cold fusion; electrochemical battery; calcination; combustion; Volta

Chapter.  7919 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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