CORVALLIS, Ore. – Lawrence M. Principe of Johns Hopkins University will present a series of three public lectures at Oregon State University beginning on April 15 on the subject of “The Secrets of Alchemy.”

Principe is the Drew Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins, where he is internationally known as a dynamic lecturer and major scholar whose work has pioneered a revival of interest in the experimental methods and magical mysteries of alchemy in early modern Europe. Principe has turned his own chemical expertise to repeating some of the alchemists’ recipes.

In addition to providing a new appreciation of the scientific importance of the work of alchemists, Principe’s research contributes to a new understanding of the scientific revolution, perhaps the single largest intellectual change in western culture. He has published books that include “The Aspiring Adept: Robert Boyle and His Alchemical Quest” (Princeton, 1998) and (with William R. Newman) “Alchemy Tried in the Fire: Starkey, Boyle, and the Fate of Helmontian Chymistry” (Chicago, 2004), which won the History of Science Society’s 2005 Pfizer Prize.

The schedule of lectures is:

Tuesday, April 15: “The Noble Art of Alchemy: Contents and Contexts,” Memorial Union Room 208, 4 p.m.

Thursday, April 17: “The Place of Alchemy in Early Modern Culture and the History of Science,” Memorial Union Room 213, 4 p.m.

Friday, April 18: “The Transmutations of Chymistry: Products and Pathways,” Valley Library, East and West Willamette Industries Seminar Rooms, noon

Principe’s lectures on “The Secrets of Alchemy” will be published in 2009 by the OSU Press as the second volume in the Horning Visiting Scholars Publication Series. The first volume in the series is “Aetna and the Moon: Explaining Nature in Ancient Greece and Rome” by Liba Taub of the University of Cambridge. It will appear in spring 2008.

For more information, contact the History Department at 541-737-8560 or visit


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Elissa Curcio,