The history of alchemy is traced from its earliest roots through to its influence and use in modern-day science.Beginning in China in the search for the secret of immortality, and appearing independently in Egypt as an attempt to produce gold, alchemy received a great boost in Europe from studies by Islamic and Jewish alchemists. Their written accounts were translated into Latin and combined with what was known of Greek natural science to produce an outburst of attempts to manipulate matter and change it into transformative substances called the Philosopher's Stone and the Elixir of Life.Alchemy's heyday in Europe was the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Demonstrations of the art were performed in royal courts under conditions meant to obviate any fraud, and specimens of the gold so transmuted can be seen in various museums. During the nineteenth century, attempts were made to amalgamate alchemy with the religious and occult philosophies then growing in popularity; and in the twentieth century psychologists - principally Carl Jung - perceived in alchemy a powerful vehicle for aspects of their theories about human nature. At the same time laboratory scientists continued to experiment in ways very similar to those of their Medieval and early modern forebears.P.G. Maxwell-Stuart explores the history of alchemy with authority and verve, showing that its study is not one of the odder byways of antiquarianism but a living part of the history of Science itself.