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Thread: what determines the properties of a thing?

  1. #1 what determines the properties of a thing? 
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    according to chemistry the properties ( color, taste, smell, size, shape, other virtues) of a thing is determined by its molecular structure or how the molecules are arranged. this means that these properties do not belong to the molecules. the molecular structure is nothing but the bonds made by molecules with each other. there is nothing other than molecules in molecular structure.

    for the sake of discussion lets take one property, say, the color.

    for example potassium permanganate has a color violate. now this violet color comes from the molecular structure according to chemistry. now my question is exactly whose color it is?

    some says that the reflection of light on the molecular structure decides color. it means that if the molecular structure allows light to pass then the color would be transparent, otherwise the color of an object is the color reflected by molecular structure. if the later reflects red light, then the object will be red etc.

    but the above logic means that in the absence of light the object will have no color. is it true?


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    Color, is simply a human's way to say wavelenght of a foton. The color itselt is determined by the electron energy that make up the atom. Energies will vary when it covalently binds to other atoms. This makes certain structures reflect (give color), and others not. At least, this is my interpretation. I am in no way an expert on this, as i have never really looked at what lies beyond looking simply at the wavelength and intensity of the emitting light.

    In addition, a material in the dark, still has it's color. It would be strange saying, simply because it's dark, that your t-shirt has lost it's nice orange color.


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    you gave an excellent answer. thank you.

    In addition, a material in the dark, still has it's color. It would be strange saying, simply because it's dark, that your t-shirt has lost it's nice orange color.
    fine. this means that color has nothing to do with light.

    The color itselt is determined by the electron energy that make up the atom. Energies will vary when it covalently binds to other atoms. This makes certain structures reflect (give color), and others not.
    if it is electron energy that give different color through variation due to bonds, i will take it as atoms giving color in different bonds. if this is true then atoms of a substance might contain all colors i.e VIBGYOR. that why in different bonds they give different colors. isn't it so ?

    At least, this is my interpretation. I am in no way an expert on this, as i have never really looked at what lies beyond looking simply at the wavelength and intensity of the emitting light.
    science is not a personal property of experts. it is a public property. everybody regardless of age have a right to practice science as much as he/she can. at least this is my idea. i don't know what experts will say.
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    if it is electron energy that give different color through variation due to bonds, i will take it as atoms giving color in different bonds. if this is true then atoms of a substance might contain all colors i.e VIBGYOR. that why in different bonds they give different colors. isn't it so ?
    I'm not quite sure what you mean to say by this. Color's are not as easy as simply the 7 colors of the rainbow. There are an infinite number of colors. And an infinite number of intensity. So a material emitting every color, is simply not possible.

    Even a mirror, does not reflect every light. It goes up to 98% though, not sure if any pass that.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Color is a property of light not of matter. Matter has the property of reflecting or transmitting certain frequencies of light and absorbing others. If a particular substance absorbs red light but reflects green then we see it as "green". Nothing has any color in the absence of light because the light is what has the color. The absence of light does not change the nature of the thing but that nature is best described as "reflecting green light" rather that "being green".
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    ok i got that light + molecular structure= color.

    what about other properties: taste, smell, touch, etc.?
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    Taste and smell are measures of chemical reactivity. Specificly reactivity that is of importance to our biological well being. It is important to us to sense salty, sweet, bitter.
    Shape is dependent on the interatomic bonds within the molecule. Molecules of differing materials have different shapes.
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    It might be better to focus on the characteristics of materials rather than the 'properties' which you seem to think of in terms of human senses. Focus on human sense impression shifts the focus away from what the material is and on to how we preceive it. Scientis tend to talk instead of qualities like hardness, density, ductility, melting point, conductivity to heat, and electricity.
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    can the properties/charactaristics of material be changed by activities like heating, cooling, drying and moistening? for example raw flesh is hard. but when we heat it, it becomes soft and easily digestable. there is a change from hardness to softness.
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    Clearly you are no cook. Raw flesh is soft. Then as you apply heat the proteins curdle and the meat hardens. Much more cooking, in moisture, will render the flesh softer as colligen fiber breaks down. However more dry heat will dry and furture harden meat. These changes are chemical changes. That is the molecules are changed, curdled protein is not the same thing as non curdled protein and can't be changed back by cooling the meat, so it is no longer true to say meat is the same substance after cooking.

    It is probably helpful to confine yourself to considering non organic materials at first. Organic chemistry is a very complex subject. Inorganic molecules are much simpler but serve to illustrate the principles involved.
    All matter exists in one of 3 states either as a solid, a liquid or a gas, (there is a forth state, high energy plasma, but you will not find that under common terrestrial conditions.) What characteristics a substance has depend on not only its molecular structure but also the temperature and pressure it is at. Example: water: chemically it is H2O, one oxygen atom with 2 hydrogen atoms. It remains chemically the same regardless of its state. Its properties however change. In the solid state it is relatively hard and brittle, it has poor tensile strength and low dutility. Its density is lower as a solid than as a liquid. As a liquid it has a competely different set of caracteristics. Now it has a certain viscosity, weting ablity, soluablity, etc. As a gas its physical charcteristics are still different but it is still H2O.
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    my point is that heating, cooling, drying and moistening changes the properties of a substance. you affirm it. fine. thank you. the 3 state you are talking about can also be obtained by heating and cooling.

    where this plasma state was seen?
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    the simple answer is the combination of the atoms of which it is composed.
    bye
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    where this plasma state was seen?
    Neon signs, plasma TV, the sun, plasma globes, tokamak...
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Or just any fire like candle flame.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    where this plasma state was seen?
    Neon signs, plasma TV, the sun, plasma globes, tokamak...
    in neon sign there is plasma? but as far as i know the neon sign is made up of glass tube, electrodes and inert gasses. these gasses determines the color of neon. then where is the plasma here?

    see the components of neon here: How Neon Signs are Made - Neon Articles & Facts

    again in plasma tv, the component parts are: buffer, buttons, cables, IR sensors, logic, power supply, signal input, speakers, stand, Y board, Z board.

    so where is plasma here? can you kindly tell me where can i see plasma as clearly and distinctly as i see solid, liquid and gas state of matter?

    see components of plasma tv: Parts for Plasma TVs
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    in neon sign there is plasma? but as far as i know the neon sign is made up of glass tube, electrodes and inert gasses. these gasses determines the color of neon. then where is the plasma here?
    A plasma is basically just an ionized gas. The gas in a neon sign is ionized by passing an electric current through it. This is what causes it to glow.

    can you kindly tell me where can i see plasma as clearly and distinctly as i see solid, liquid and gas state of matter?
    Plasma globe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    do you agree that heating and cooling can change the atomic structure of matter? for example in metallurgy, the iron is heated and then cool down to convert into a sharp blade. heating and cooling must change the atomic structure of the metal. do you agree?
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    do you agree that heating and cooling can change the atomic structure of matter? for example in metallurgy, the iron is heated and then cool down to convert into a sharp blade. heating and cooling must change the atomic structure of the metal. do you agree?
    I would say molecular structure because it changes the arrangement of atoms; it doesn't affect the structure of the atoms themselves. But, otherwise, yes.
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    then by appropriate heating and cooling we could change moleculour structure of anything? any substance? we can transmute one thing into another thing by apt heating and cooling. do you agree?
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    then by appropriate heating and cooling we could change moleculour structure of anything? any substance? we can transmute one thing into another thing by apt heating and cooling. do you agree?
    Er ... no.

    You can heat a metal and melt it. It becomes a liquid. But it is still the original metal. It has not turned into water just because you melted it.
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    but in the process of making blades of sword( katana etc.) we heat up the metal and then cool it down in the water. the metal which has no sharpness before becomes so sharp, that it can cut a man into 2 halves. from where this sharpness comes? there must be a change in molecular level. so this change is caused by heating and cooling. result is sharpness.
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    but in the process of making blades of sword( katana etc.) we heat up the metal and then cool it down in the water. the metal which has no sharpness before becomes so sharp, that it can cut a man into 2 halves. from where this sharpness comes? there must be a change in molecular level. so this change is caused by heating and cooling. result is sharpness.
    Scientific discriptions use precise language for a reason. "Atomic level" means something different from "molercular level". Heat treatments of metals change their crytaline structure which is a level larger that the molecular.
    Tempering hardens metal it does not make it sharper. Sharpness is a function of the shape of the metal not its hardness.
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    but in the process of making blades of sword( katana etc.) we heat up the metal and then cool it down in the water. the metal which has no sharpness before becomes so sharp, that it can cut a man into 2 halves. from where this sharpness comes? there must be a change in molecular level. so this change is caused by heating and cooling. result is sharpness.
    Tempering changes the crystal structure to make the steel harder. But it is still steel. We are not "transmuting one thing into another".
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    but in the process of making blades of sword( katana etc.) we heat up the metal and then cool it down in the water. the metal which has no sharpness before becomes so sharp, that it can cut a man into 2 halves. from where this sharpness comes? there must be a change in molecular level. so this change is caused by heating and cooling. result is sharpness.
    I think that the sharpness of the metal sword doesn't come from any molecular change..heating may harden it(i don't know much about that) but the sharpness comes from the beating the metallurgist gives the blade which reduces the surface area of the edges and so, the the pressure becomes very high(and thus it can cut through people:P)
    They might even polish it later to give it a more 'refined' sharpness.....
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    well then both of you agree that hardness comes from heating. that too is a change. how hardness comes? before heating this attribute was not there in the metal. how come after heating metal has that attribute? definitely there is a change in molecular level, even the slightest change in molecular level can add new attribute to a thing.

    so hardness is a change in molecular level that is caused by heating the metal. agree?
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    well then both of you agree that hardness comes from heating. that too is a change. how hardness comes? before heating this attribute was not there in the metal. how come after heating metal has that attribute? definitely there is a change in molecular level, even the slightest change in molecular level can add new attribute to a thing.

    so hardness is a change in molecular level that is caused by heating the metal. agree?
    Yes, you can make steel harder or softer by different heat treatments. It does this by changing the crystal structure.

    Heating steel to a high temperature (and rapidly cooling it, "quenching") makes it harder.

    Heating the metal to a lower temperature makes the steel less brittle by making it more flexible.

    In other materials, heating may change the properties in other ways.

    But we seem to be going round in circles here ...
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    This is actually quite a complex issue. Steel, which is an alloy, contains a small but important quantity of carbon. This results in multiple possible phases, depending on the temperature and the composition (carbon content) of the steel. Phase transformations are possibel at elevated temperature that are then 'frozen' upon rapid quenching. Different phases, such as pearlite, austentite, matrensite, etc cne be present. Hardening, as you described, increases the proportion of martensite. This involves changes in crystallography and at the molecular level. any undergraduate text on materials science will likely contain one or more chapters on the subject.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    well then both of you agree that hardness comes from heating. that too is a change. how hardness comes? before heating this attribute was not there in the metal. how come after heating metal has that attribute? definitely there is a change in molecular level, even the slightest change in molecular level can add new attribute to a thing.

    so hardness is a change in molecular level that is caused by heating the metal. agree?
    Yes, you can make steel harder or softer by different heat treatments. It does this by changing the crystal structure.

    Heating steel to a high temperature (and rapidly cooling it, "quenching") makes it harder.

    Heating the metal to a lower temperature makes the steel less brittle by making it more flexible.

    In other materials, heating may change the properties in other ways.

    But we seem to be going round in circles here ...

    no we are not going in circles, we are going in a straight line, straight to our destination


    so heating and cooling can change the properties of material........ sounds good. then you must agree that the method of ancient naturalists who wrote in their book about changing the properties of substance by heating, cooling, drying and moistening may be true. especially these naturalists in their book wrote that heating, cooling, drying and moistening are the first quality and from this first quality comes hardening, softening, strengthening,evaporating etc. which is called secondary quality. these secondary qualities are the properties of a substance. it may be true. do you agree?
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    well then both of you agree that hardness comes from heating. that too is a change. how hardness comes? before heating this attribute was not there in the metal. how come after heating metal has that attribute? definitely there is a change in molecular level, even the slightest change in molecular level can add new attribute to a thing.

    so hardness is a change in molecular level that is caused by heating the metal. agree?
    Yes, you can make steel harder or softer by different heat treatments. It does this by changing the crystal structure.

    Heating steel to a high temperature (and rapidly cooling it, "quenching") makes it harder.

    Heating the metal to a lower temperature makes the steel less brittle by making it more flexible.

    In other materials, heating may change the properties in other ways.

    But we seem to be going round in circles here ...

    no we are not going in circles, we are going in a straight line, straight to our destination


    so heating and cooling can change the properties of material........ sounds good. then you must agree that the method of ancient naturalists who wrote in their book about changing the properties of substance by heating, cooling, drying and moistening may be true. especially these naturalists in their book wrote that heating, cooling, drying and moistening are the first quality and from this first quality comes hardening, softening, strengthening,evaporating etc. which is called secondary quality. these secondary qualities are the properties of a substance. it may be true. do you agree?
    Just exactly which ancient naturalists, in which book? Some ancients had useful and correct ideas, others spouted nonsense. Which ones are you specificly referring to? Science uses precise language for a reason. We understand each other better if we avoid ambiguous terms and generalizations.

    The phyical properties of materials can be temperature dependent. A cold solid will melt and become a liquid if heated and a liquid wil vaporize and become a gas if heated more. Chemical properties do not change with temperature however.

    Some matter exists in elemental pure forms. There are about one hundred known elements. A sample of an element contains only atoms of that element. Iron is an element. Pure iron is a grey metalic solid. Iron will react chemically with an number of other elements, for example oxygen. Iron reacted with oxygen produces iron oxide or rust. Rust no longer has the properties of iron. It is now a solid reddish crystaline powder. Rust is a "compound" of iron and oxygen bound together at the molecular level in an exact proportion.

    Substances may also be mixed, without chemical reaction. This wil also change physical properties but usually in less dramatic ways. Steel is a mixture of iron with small quantities of other elements, mostly carbon. Steel is less brittle than pure iron. The proportion of elements in the mixture is not exact. If you change the proportions of iron molecules to carbon molecules the properties of the steel will change subtly but the substance will still be steel. Metallic mixtures are also called "alloys".
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    so heating and cooling can change the properties of material
    Yes. Within limits. For example, the hardening and tempering processes described earlier apply to alloys like steel. It won't work with copper, plastic, wood or water.

    then you must agree that the method of ancient naturalists who wrote in their book about changing the properties of substance by heating, cooling, drying and moistening may be true.
    I might agree partly. Some properties of some substances may be changed to some extent by some of these processes. This is not a magic recipe for turning any substance into any other (or whatever your "destination" is).

    especially these naturalists in their book wrote that heating, cooling, drying and moistening are the first quality and from this first quality comes hardening, softening, strengthening,evaporating etc. which is called secondary quality. these secondary qualities are the properties of a substance. it may be true. do you agree?
    Sounds pretty meaningless to me. We understand a lot more about the atomic, molecular and crystalline structure of materials now than these "ancient naturalists" (whoever they are). We understand and can predict the properties of novel materials. We can design new materials with desired properties. This may involve "heating, cooling, drying and moistening" but it might also include pressure, chemical changes, irradiation, etc.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    no we are not going in circles, we are going in a straight line, straight to our destination
    Moderator Note: Please specify this destination in your next post. This thread may be heading for pseudoscience. If your intention is to learn it will remain in chemistry. If your intention is to promote some variant of alchemy it is a gonner!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sealeaf View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    well then both of you agree that hardness comes from heating. that too is a change. how hardness comes? before heating this attribute was not there in the metal. how come after heating metal has that attribute? definitely there is a change in molecular level, even the slightest change in molecular level can add new attribute to a thing.

    so hardness is a change in molecular level that is caused by heating the metal. agree?
    Yes, you can make steel harder or softer by different heat treatments. It does this by changing the crystal structure.

    Heating steel to a high temperature (and rapidly cooling it, "quenching") makes it harder.

    Heating the metal to a lower temperature makes the steel less brittle by making it more flexible.

    In other materials, heating may change the properties in other ways.

    But we seem to be going round in circles here ...

    no we are not going in circles, we are going in a straight line, straight to our destination


    so heating and cooling can change the properties of material........ sounds good. then you must agree that the method of ancient naturalists who wrote in their book about changing the properties of substance by heating, cooling, drying and moistening may be true. especially these naturalists in their book wrote that heating, cooling, drying and moistening are the first quality and from this first quality comes hardening, softening, strengthening,evaporating etc. which is called secondary quality. these secondary qualities are the properties of a substance. it may be true. do you agree?
    Just exactly which ancient naturalists, in which book? Some ancients had useful and correct ideas, others spouted nonsense. Which ones are you specificly referring to? Science uses precise language for a reason. We understand each other better if we avoid ambiguous terms and generalizations.

    The phyical properties of materials can be temperature dependent. A cold solid will melt and become a liquid if heated and a liquid wil vaporize and become a gas if heated more. Chemical properties do not change with temperature however.

    Some matter exists in elemental pure forms. There are about one hundred known elements. A sample of an element contains only atoms of that element. Iron is an element. Pure iron is a grey metalic solid. Iron will react chemically with an number of other elements, for example oxygen. Iron reacted with oxygen produces iron oxide or rust. Rust no longer has the properties of iron. It is now a solid reddish crystaline powder. Rust is a "compound" of iron and oxygen bound together at the molecular level in an exact proportion.

    Substances may also be mixed, without chemical reaction. This wil also change physical properties but usually in less dramatic ways. Steel is a mixture of iron with small quantities of other elements, mostly carbon. Steel is less brittle than pure iron. The proportion of elements in the mixture is not exact. If you change the proportions of iron molecules to carbon molecules the properties of the steel will change subtly but the substance will still be steel. Metallic mixtures are also called "alloys".
    please read the first book of occult philosophy by cornelius agrippa. he told that all elements has pure and compound form and heating, cooling, drying and moistening can change the properties of a substance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    so heating and cooling can change the properties of material
    Yes. Within limits. For example, the hardening and tempering processes described earlier apply to alloys like steel. It won't work with copper, plastic, wood or water.

    then you must agree that the method of ancient naturalists who wrote in their book about changing the properties of substance by heating, cooling, drying and moistening may be true.
    I might agree partly. Some properties of some substances may be changed to some extent by some of these processes. This is not a magic recipe for turning any substance into any other (or whatever your "destination" is).

    especially these naturalists in their book wrote that heating, cooling, drying and moistening are the first quality and from this first quality comes hardening, softening, strengthening,evaporating etc. which is called secondary quality. these secondary qualities are the properties of a substance. it may be true. do you agree?
    Sounds pretty meaningless to me. We understand a lot more about the atomic, molecular and crystalline structure of materials now than these "ancient naturalists" (whoever they are). We understand and can predict the properties of novel materials. We can design new materials with desired properties. This may involve "heating, cooling, drying and moistening" but it might also include pressure, chemical changes, irradiation, etc.
    yes i agree that it may include pressure, chemical changes, irradiation, etc. but ancient naturalist did not know those thing in their time. whatever they knew about heating cooling, drying and moistening are true to this era. so naturalists are partly true. if they are at least to some extent true, who may know about truth of their knowledge. don't you think that we should re-evaluate their knowledge, re-examine their knowledge? we may find some valuable tips that could help us know our world more meaningfully?
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    please read the first book of occult philosophy by cornelius agrippa. he told that all elements has pure and compound form and heating, cooling, drying and moistening can change the properties of a substance.
    Did he present any evidence? Was this publication peer reviewed? Have further experiments confirmed or falsified his hypothesis? Why should we consider these 500 year old ramblings about magic over the latest scientific advances in physics and chemistry? You do know that magic doesn't exist, don't you?
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  36. #35  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    if they are at least to some extent true, who may know about truth of their knowledge. don't you think that we should re-evaluate their knowledge, re-examine their knowledge? we may find some valuable tips that could help us know our world more meaningfully?
    Some alchemists contributed to early physics and chemistry (Newton was very interested in alchemy, for example.) But I think we have gone so far beyond what they understood, I doubt there is anything more to be learned from it.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    no we are not going in circles, we are going in a straight line, straight to our destination
    Moderator Note: Please specify this destination in your next post. This thread may be heading for pseudoscience. If your intention is to learn it will remain in chemistry. If your intention is to promote some variant of alchemy it is a gonner!
    dear moderator

    actually i want to learn how to change the attribute of things which is a part of chemistry. my entire discussion till now remains within chemistry. ancient naturalists also practice some chemistry. i think science is the collection of fruitful knowledge. if we found some truth in the works of ancient philosophers that are still valid in this 21st century, i think we must examine more. this is not a journey towards pseudoscience, rather it is a journey towards truth.
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Indeed, I also see it as a journey towards truth. However, on the road to truth there are many misleading signposts. You declared you were headed for a destination. That destination sounded very like an alchemical one. Your reply has not convinced me this is not your intent, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

    I will say that you seem to be trying to impose constraints on the types of changes, or - more accurately - take a limited kind of change and attempt to generalise from it. Strange captured this idea very clearly in post #30.
    Some properties of some substances may be changed to some extent by some of these processes.
    To satisfy your wish 'to learn how to change the attributes of things' you need study chemistry and physics and materials science, not ancient works of alchemists. Anything of value in those works has been incorporated into present chemical thinking. The rest has been rightly discarded. You suggest their knowledge should be reevaluated. Why? That has been done a hundred times a thousand times in the past and their knowledge was found to be limited and wrong. Where it was sound it provided a basis for the development of modern chemistry and physics. Why return to it now?
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    whats wrong in evaluating their knowledge once more? this time we may find some more of their knowledge useful. if some of the knowledge of alchemy is so fruitful that it becomes a basis for physics and chemistry, then alchemy is not a pseudoscience. except its search for philosopher's stone, alchemy must have some value. why not examine it once more?
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  40. #39  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    whats wrong in evaluating their knowledge once more? this time we may find some more of their knowledge useful.
    People do occasionally go back and look at old ideas - particularly in medicine. Usually they find there is no value but occasionally they rediscover something. Or maybe an old idea inspires something new. Can't think of any examples of the top of my head though ...
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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