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The Chemistry of the Philosophers’ Stone

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Attracted by Harry-Potter-related title, I attended a history of science talk on alchemy at my department in the evening of Feb 12th. It’s snowing again tonight, I won’t go if at other departments. Actually, alchemy is not and was not science. The style of speaker is quite different, the speaker will read from a script, unlike lecturers or speakers in science that I have attended so far. Unrelated to the talk, my mind draw connection on what happened many centuries ago. Those alchemists are trying to find answers, to make gold from less precious metals. We researchers today are trying to find answers to many natural sciences questions, we do not know if our techniques are good enough, if our results are accurate enough. I believe that many new techniques are and will be developed. Our results are based on the results of many others before us and our peer, whom mostly we do not know personally. It’s like standing on the shoulders of giants, but those alchemists were also doing the same. They refer to previous textbooks written by authority. In a college mass I attended this month, I met a clinical doctor who abandoned his medical career, to pursue a research career. He said by doing research, he would be able to help more others. However, how are we going to know if what we are researching on, if the techniques we are devoloping on, will be useful to many others? We don’t know, but if we never try, there will absolute nothing. Thus, we just keep on trying and doing our best~!


Written by blueroselady

February 13, 2009 at 10:28 pm

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