The alchemists were a varied group of scholars and charlatans whose goal was two-fold: to create the Philosopher’s Stone (which caused the transmutation of lead into gold) and the discovery of the Elixir of Life (bestowing immortality on the person who possessed it).
The origin of the term “alchemy” is uncertain.
Many of the specific approaches that alchemists used when they tried changing lead into gold are vague and unclear. Each alchemist had his own code for recording his data. The processes were kept secret so others could not profit from them.
Alchemist Contributions to Chemistry
Early acids and bases were discovered. Glassware for running chemical reactions was developed. Alchemy helped improve the study of metallurgy and the extraction of metals from ores. More systematic approaches to research were being developed, although the idea of orderly scientific experimentation had not become well-established yet. But the groundwork was laid to the development of chemistry as a foundational science.
Gold has been considered valuably by all civilizations.
The alchemists tried to find the philosopher’s stone that would allow then to make gold from lead.
Many dishonest schemes were created, but nobody ever made gold from lead.
The alchemists did contribute many advances to the new science of chemistry.