How an alchemist actually managed to turn something into gold
#stories from the eastern west
Alchemy – the supposed ancient art of turning everyday objects into gold – is widely believed to be obsolete. Interestingly, however, every bit of this notion is wrong.
First of all, as it turns out, alchemy is still being practised today and, according to one of our guests, is doing better than ever. And second of all, it apparently was never actually an art of the physical transmutation of objects, but a very profound blend of philosophy, chemistry, physics and religion.
Join us on SFTEW as we travel back to the Middle Ages and meet Michael Sendivogius, an alchemist who contributed to the discovery of something absolutely essential...
[01:10] A transmutation in Emperor Rudolph’s court
[03:37] Why were alchemists sought after?
[04:43] What actually happened at the Emperor’s court?
[06:39] What was alchemy really all about?
[08:42] Were alchemists nothing more than a bunch of fraudsters?
[10:53] Alchemical code
[12:51] ‘There’s a secret substance in the air’
[13:47] How Sendivogius came to his startling discovery
[17:29] Alchemy is not dead
How to turn things into gold / on scientificamerican.com (the thing we promised in the podcast!)
The Origins of Alchemy & The Pole who Played with Oxygen / on Culture.pl
Who Was Michael Sendivogius? Biography Of An Alchemist / on Culture.pl
Water Which Does Not Wet Hands / a book by Dr Szydlo on Sendivogius and Mediaeval alchemy, on Amazon.com
Zbigniew Andrew Szydlo / for revealing all the secrets of transmutation and alchemy to Adam, our editor and host. Dr Szydlo is an acknowledged Royal Society chemist, educator and a great performer with a mission of presenting experiments outside of the classroom.
Mark Stavish / for talking with us about the state of alchemy today. Mark is the director for the Institute for Hermetic Studies in Pennsylvania and a life-long student of esotericism with over 25 years experience in comparative religion, philosophy, psychology, and mysticism with emphasis on Traditional Western Esotericism.
Rafał T. Prinke / for explaining how close Sendivogius really was to the world of science. Dr Prinke is a historian specialising in astrology, esotericism and ancient games.
John Beauchamp / for his Sendivogius impersonation. John is a seasoned radio journalist, currently working on Unseen Warsaw, a series of soundwalks located in Warsaw.
art and science
podcasts about Poland
Written & produced by Elizabeth Lawrence & Wojciech Oleksiak
Edited by Adam Żuławski
Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak
Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Żuławski
Research by Monika Proba