Real Alchemy

seraphjei 03-17-2005 08:58 PM
not sure where this goes..OH WELL...this is probably gonna end up in another part of this forum forcing the admins to waste even more precious back on subject...

for all of you who watches FMA you know what alchemy is and some of the "laws" that is involved to use it. And most of you think well all that alchemy stuff is a bunch of mumbo jumbo...yea well guess what? Alcehmy is actually a real science...but its not like you clap your hands then draw a transmutation circle then lead to magically turn into gold...the process in order to turn lead into gold is painstaking but more than possible. Alchemy revolves HEAVILY on chemistry(hence where the root word alchemy comes from) and when i say heavily i mean if you dont know chemistry then your screwed...but in actually gonna start learning alchemy as a hobby or maybe as a profession...but alas im still young and stupid and will try anything dont blame me if this ounds like a stupid idea..even though it probably is... Pleased
also most FMA will be pleased to hear that the search for the Philosphers Stone exists even in reality.
I'll finally close my point by giving you some reference sites on alchemy and some good books that will help you get started.
Alchemy Website
Alchemy Lab
more alchemy
Philosophers Stone
Tabris-kun 03-17-2005 09:08 PM
I always thought real alchemy was the science of changing simple metals into pure gold and I thought it was impossible?
Travis Bickle 03-17-2005 09:33 PM
Originally posted by Deus
I always thought real alchemy was the science of changing simple metals into pure gold and I thought it was impossible?

Not to sounds like a naysayer, but it is impossible. There is no sceintific documentation of it actually working known to man. It's more of a belief than an actual science. If we could possibly turn things into gold (and, from what I remember, alchemy is specifically turning water into gold, or at least I think so...) using science (actual science, and not science fiction), don't you think we'd know about it and jump on the bandwagon already? I'd leave the alchemy to Ed and Al, Golden Sun, and King Midas.
Ace378 03-20-2005 08:18 PM
to my understanding it is possible to turn lead into gold. Using atomic and subatomic properties it is possible to turn lead into gold however the amount of energy that is required for the transformation is not worth the outcome in gold which is why nobody changes lead into gold. If i recall correctly it has something to do with the changing of the number of protons in lead. after a little bit of investigation i ran into this
Dude Love 03-20-2005 08:49 PM
It's usually traditionally lead, but, as Ace378 said, it's more expensive to make the Gold than the Gold is worth.

It can be done with other metals, though. In fact, the easiest metal to do it with is Platinum (since they're right next to each other in the Periodic table, and have the same number of Protons). However, Platinum is more valuable than Gold, so it's most definitely not worth the effort.
Diverse Considerations 03-20-2005 08:58 PM
I'll stick to my guns and the four years I spent in school to get my bachelors of science in chemistry. I'm damned proud of that lambskin.

Now for the chemistry:

The third ionization energy of lead (the energy required to strip three electrons from the electron cloud) is 3081.5 kJ/mol^-1. That's big. Ionization energies for the heavier metals in the transition metals sector of the periodic table are generally much higher than their counterparts to the left or right.

That alone doesn't even take into account the energy required within a particle accelerator to strip three protons and neutrons from the atomic nucleus. Those things take a lot of power simply to run, let alone the energy requirements to cleave subatomic particles.

And plus, you have the pay the ferret who cleans out the particle accelerator...
NVWC2006 03-20-2005 10:08 PM
Oh, chemistry. Not my strongest spot. In HS Freshman's Honors Chemistry I did ok, but I prefer Physics.

However, yes, I do know about Alchemy in areas other than FMA. The places I personally have heard it most is in Harry Potter and in the beginning college life of Isaac Newton.

In first Harry Potter book (Sorcercer's Stone in US, Philosopher's Stone everywhere else), alchemy, the science of turning metals into gold, and giving one everlasting life is sought after by Voldemort to restore his life, by Harry, Hermione, and Ron, to keep You-Know-Who from doing so.

From what I've learned from the early life of Isaac Newton, before he started focussing more on math, he was into alchemy and chemistry, working to discover different laws of chemistry and physics. What he learned in alchemy helped him advance in the areas of optics and Calculus/Fluxions.
ScionofDestiny 04-03-2006 10:44 AM
I see a thread like this everywhere, so why not here too? It has probably already been discussed to death but if I didn't post for fear of that, I would have nothing to talk about.

Derived from Greek-Egyptian word "Al-kimia" - which goes around the meaning "to fuse with God" - Alchemy was a pseudo-science that existed back during the Dark-Medival Ages and persisted well into the Middle Ages. Eventually, everyone realized that the search to turn ignoble metals into gold was a dud. That was when the term Alchemy died out and the research turned more chemical than metalic based in focus - Chemistry, which survives to this day.

So yes, Alchemy is the parent-science to Chemistry, but the two are very different. Nonetheless, Alchemy did make so contributions to the field of Chemistry and other modern sciences - like the Elemental Table for one - a fundamental basis for Chemistry, Biology, and parts of physics.

Alchemy itself is seen as both a metaphysical and physical science - spirit and material. In recent news, a year or so ago, a team somewhere in England managed to turn a metalic gas into gold - they spent millions of dollars and made a few cents worth of gold - thus defeating the original purpose of the hunt for gold - but it proved an idea from Alchemy could be achieved through modern science. If the shoe doesn't fit, find another foot.

ALRIGHT - got the basic stuff out of the way. Now for the anime! Does anyone want to start us off or will I?
Travis Bickle 04-03-2006 10:52 AM
We actually have a thread like this.

You could also use the search function of the forums to see if there are already threads before you post new ones.
StevieV019 04-10-2006 11:09 AM
Originally posted by Dude Love
It's usually traditionally lead, but, as Ace378 said, it's more expensive to make the Gold than the Gold is worth.

It can be done with other metals, though. In fact, the easiest metal to do it with is Platinum (since they're right next to each other in the Periodic table, and have the same number of Protons). However, Platinum is more valuable than Gold, so it's most definitely not worth the effort.

Exactly! Well put, Dude...
ScionofDestiny 04-10-2006 06:42 PM
Well, our universe operates under a specific function of laws - gravity is probably the easiest one that everybody knows, but even a law as "basic" as gravity is heavily entertwined with all sorts of other fun little rules.

Fullmetal Alchemist works under the ... the assumption that these laws are breakable. It is a huge theme. To allow a spoiler:

"Equivalent exchange is nothing but an attempt to bring order to a world that has none."

This seems metaphorical for a belief that the laws of our universe - or their universe that is like our universe - can be violated. As idealistic as this idea sounds, I honestly don't think that this ineration of reality (ours) set of laws are breakable. They seem very - set?

That is why distinction must be made from the world of reality and the world of ideas. Also, I already know that some of Alchemy's rule in Fullmetal Alchemist directly violates these laws - like ignorance of the conversation of mass.
Mike 04-10-2006 09:41 PM
Yeah. A lot of scifi or fantasy shows blatantly break the laws of physics. That's what makes them cool. I...really doubt anybody thought that alchemy happening in an anime meant they could try it for real.

Wasn't "real alchemy" the whole idea that you could take (for example) lead and turn it into gold? Of course, that would lead to so much gold that it would devalue gold and make it worthless. I guess people also tried thigns like turning say, sand into steel or something like that. The lead into gold thing actually Is possible, like people said. Just take a bunch of lead, make a bunch of protons stick to it so all of the lead atoms turn into gold atoms. Voila. Except for being incredibly difficult to do to anything more than a couple of atoms at a time.

But when people realized that it was impossible, it led to chemistry, which actually works. And is cool.
ScionofDestiny 04-11-2006 09:14 AM
I want to become a writer, but I also hope to become an amateur chemicist and phycisist - it would give me something educational and cool to write about at least. Look at how Fullmetal Alchemist turned out.

For all we know, they made develop some sort of "quantom" technology in the future that could manipulate, adjust, reapply, or negate the laws of physics. How? No idea. It also kind of scares me in a way. If we can't trust those laws, what law can we trust?

Well, whatever - the universe still operates by those laws. Whatever ideas we want to give life, we'll have to accomplish working within those laws.

Something that fascinated me about ancient alchemists is that they never thought ahead to after they had actually turned something into gold. Didn't they realize that an inflation of gold would undermine the economy, thus defeating one of the key original purposes? Also, gold sucks as any other than decoration. Gold weapons are just terrible.
Hobodoken 04-11-2006 11:06 AM
I'm fairly sure the Alchemists of the Dark and Middle Ages were only interested in the fact that their research could help them. If one person was able to turn lead to gold, then they wouldn't really have to tell others, would they? They could just make it for themselves, and for the Lord who funded their research. I don't doubt that there would have been ramifications, but a solitary person wouldn't result in too tremendous of an influx.
ScionofDestiny 04-11-2006 12:12 PM
Either that or they were thought all about the solution and not the result.
ScionofDestiny 05-25-2006 07:27 PM
I've been sort of depressed the thread hasn't been going so well. Well -to spice things up ...

Alchemy was sort of a universal "science" that combined philosophy, mysticism, psychology, physics, and chemistry. Bearing that in mind, it didn't work.

A term (that I have used) to describe Alchemy is pseudo-science. It is, but in light of recent knowledge that isn't really a fair way of putting it. Alchemy would be better described as a "protoscience".

While many Alchemists were charlatans and posers, most of them were respected scholars and scientists who work "by the thumb" (measurements with a thumb) by observing and experimentation. Without the same technology we have today, their formulas often faltered because they lacked proper measurement.

Nonetheless, alchemy did make contributions to both modern chemistry and to mystical thinking. Alchemy was divided between Mysticism and Chemistry - the two were divided during the 19th century (1800-1900). Up until that point, alchemy was still considered a real science. In fact, Isaac Newton spent more time with alchemy than he did with physics.

Humanistic thinkers often accuse chemistry of leading Alchemy astray, while Chemicists argue that Mysticism had no place in science, and that Mysticism might not even have a place in the world. (arguably) Mysticism does have influence in the Psyche and in meditative thought - so I would say that both Chemistry and Mysticism were two ideas that didn't belong together.

The problem (?) is that while Alchemists were scientists in the sense they liked observation and experimentation when regarding the changing of the states of Matter (which was much more limited back in their day, but still possible) is that they were religious minded and couldn't distinguish between physical change and spiritual change.

To an alchemist, the spiritual change was in the physical change and vice versa - they were correlational. The physical of changing a state of matter worked in concert with the spiritual part.

In itself, this might not have been a problem. Unfortunately, they generally took names, ideas, and symbols from Kabbalah, Bible, Islamic, and other spiritual texts - meaning that a scientific formula ended up looking like a magic scroll.

Some modern psychologists and philosophers have attatched Alchemical symbols and meanings to thinking and the human soul. Carl Jung thought that spiritual philosophy was a key part of the human mind - he worked well with Sigmund Freud until they suffered a breaking point.

Note: This break is because Freud viewed the unconsciousness in a negative light - a place of supressed desire and emotion. Carl Jung may have thought that way too, but he also viewed the unconscious as the principle creative part of the Mind-Soul.

In the end, "modern Alchemy" is mysticism and chemistry - both of which are kept apart from each other with a passion.


Alchemy's somewhat loftier goals were turning ignoble metals (copper) into gold (first place) or silver (runner up), but obviously it wouldn't have lasted so long if that was all there was to alchemy. Alchemy also dealt with metal, food, and medival medicine.

"Alchemy was born in the kitchen." Food changes state of matter in the kitchen - HA.

If you want to learn alchemy as a profession, I would reccomend chemistry. If you want to learn alchemy as a hobby or as something to teach in a university (possibly) I would reccomend Mysticism.
Sara Comatori 06-18-2006 08:02 AM
True, what you all say it true...but FMA's way of doing Alchemy is cool.

I know what true Alchemy is. I studied up on it for like a week non-stop.

But they law of equivalent exchange is very much real. In order to create something you must first give up something of equal value. As quoted in the beginning of the anime.

Full-Metal is made up but think about it for a second. It does make alot of sense. I mean the whole anime led up to one point and that point was that in are world; we cannot use the advanced versions of alchemy but only the basics. Most Alchemist use chemistry, (which Alchemy is a form of...). I think that the Full Metal version is just an advanced version that we can never hope to reach.

The strange thing is, one of the reasons Alchemy is rarely practiced is because all of our Alchemic research is going into making products and other goods. Not many people have sat down to try and prove that you can turn Lead into Gold.

Transmutation Circles are a very well thought of item. It all makes sense.
You can use Alchemy but you can't create anything unless you channel the energy threw a focused symbol.

And unless your power is not strong enough to were you can do it without a Transmutation Circle, the object you are trying to create will go out of control. And depending on the symbol that you use, the Alchemic energy changes.

Russell and his younger brother, they use nature Alchemy.

Roy, the Flame Alchemist, he has the ability to turn the oxygen around him into fire with his special gloves and the fire Transmutation on each one.

Armstrong, The Strong Arm Alchemist, is an earth based Alchemist, with his Gauntlets he’s able to transmute and surface with one blow of his mighty fists.

Ed, Full Metal, is a Metal Alchemist. But he mostly consists of earth-based alchemy.

The there’s Tucker, the Sowing Life Alchemist, He specializes in the one form of alchemy that is forbidden. Flesh transmuting, by taking other animals…and sometimes humans, he can create a Chimera.

Think about it…what if FMA alchemy is an advanced form of alchemy…what if you can really do that form of Alchemy?
Travis Bickle 06-18-2006 10:10 AM
What you say goes here.
Knightskye 08-20-2006 01:16 PM
Yeah, I did something like that in Earth Science last year. We turned pennies (copper) into gold. So I'd say it was possible, because I still have my gold penny.
Tsukaggin 08-20-2006 01:47 PM
Actually you turned your penny in to Brass most likely, which is a gold looking substance.

If it wheRe easy enough that a school science lab could turn Copper into gold, then gold would be worthless by now.