Nautilus

Has Science Realized This 350-Year-Old Alchemist Wish List?

Robert Boyle, a founding member of the Royal Society, was part of an “invisible college” of natural philosophers and physicians who lived by the motto: “nullius in verba,” or, “nobody’s word for it.” This gang of 17th century intellectual rebels questioned the dominant views of the time and stuck by the principle that truth could only be determined through experimenting with the natural world.

Portrait of The Honorable Robert Boyle (1627-1691), Irish natural philosopher.Wikimedia Commons

Today, many regard Boyle as the father of chemistry and the inventor of the modern experimental method. He was unafraid to explore the natural obscurities of his time or to drum up excitement about what the future might hold.

To that end, Boyle drafted up a 24-item pie-in-the-sky wish list in the

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