Chymistry of Isaac Newton
Newton's fundamental contributions to science include the quantification of gravitational attraction, the discovery that white light is actually a mixture of immutable spectral colors, and the formulation of the calculus. Yet for Newton was also engaged in the discipline of alchemy, or as it was often called in seventeenth-century England, "chymistry." Newton wrote and transcribed about a million words on the subject of alchemy. Newton's alchemical manuscripts include a rich and diverse set of document types, including laboratory notebooks, indices of alchemical substances, and Newton's transcriptions from other sources."
The Chymistry of Isaac Newton project is based at Indiana University, Bloomington (IUB) and led by Bill Newman of the Department of the History and Philosophy of Science (HPSC). At IUB, the project team also includes individuals from the School of Library and Information Science, the Digital Library Program (DLP), and the Institute for Digital Arts and Humanities. Other team members come from the Chemical Heritage Foundation and Johns Hopkins. The DLP serves as our repository and provides hosting and long-term storage for our project site.
Our goal is to create a digital edition of Newton's alchemical manuscripts with full transcriptions and manuscript images in a fully searchable web interface. We have transcribed 118 manuscripts and are in the process of reviewing and releasing those documents to our public site at www.chymistry.org. Nine documents, including three of the largest in the collection, have already been published on the site. We are planning an official release of at least a dozen more documents in April, 2010.