Lawrence Principe and the Rehabilitation of Alchemy – another lecture in Utrecht

Utrecht has apparently become the place for me to see visiting historians of science. A couple months back Peter Galison gave  lectures and a workshop on secrecy and science, and now last week, the alchemy specialist Lawrence Principe gave the third Descartes-Huygens lecture on “Uncovering the Secrets of Alchemy and its Role in the History of Science”. It was quite a ceremonial occasion, as Principe, who is ordinarily based at John Hopkins University, was officially given an honorary fellowship at Utrecht Unversity. As the man himself opened by saying, this was probably the first time since the 17th century that the oration of a new fellow would be devoted to the art of alchemy.

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