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Elements:
  • 🜁 1f701
  • 🜂 1f702
  • 🜄 1f704
  • 🜃 1f703

Solvents:
  • e035
  • 🜅 1f705
  • e00d
  • e05a
  • 🜆 1f706
  • 🜇 1f707
  • e036
  • 🜈 1f708
  • 🜋 1f70b
  • 🜌 1f70c

Mercury:
  • 263f
  • e042
  • e043
  • e044
  • e045
  • 🜐 1f710
  • e055
  • e00f
  • e041
  • 🜑 1f711

Sulfur:
  • 🜍 1f70d
  • e056
  • e00e

Salt:
  • 🜔 1f714
  • 🜭 1f72d
  • 🜦 1f726
  • e040
  • 🜮 1f72e
  • e016
  • 🜧 1f727
  • e012

Vitriol and niter:
  • 🜖 1f716
  • 🜗 1f717
  • e05c
  • 🜕 1f715
  • e03a
  • e047
  • e046
  • e053

Sal ammoniac:
  • 🜹 1f739
  • 26b9
  • e05e
  • e04b
  • e04c
  • e04a
  • e04e
  • e04d

Gold / Sun:
  • 2609
  • e03e
  • e03d

Silver / Moon:
  • 263d
  • 263e
  • e051
  • e052
  • e050
  • e044

Iron / Mars:
  • 2642
  • 🜜 1f71c
  • 🜝 1f71d
  • e010
  • 🜡 1f721
  • 🜟 1f71f

Copper / Venus:
  • 2640
  • 🜥 1f725
  • e038
  • 🜠 1f720
  • e011
  • 🜢 1f722
  • 🜡 1f721
  • 🜧 1f727
  • e012
  • 2647

Tin / Jupiter:
  • 2643
  • e059
  • 🜩 1f729
  • e013

Lead / Saturn:
  • 2644
  • e009
  • e03f
  • 🜪 1f72a
  • e014
  • e04f

Antimony and regulus:
  • 2641
  • 🜫 1f72b
  • 🜭 1f72d
  • 🜦 1f726
  • 🜥 1f725
  • 🜰 1f730
  • 🜳 1f733
  • 🜵 1f735
  • 🜴 1f734
  • 🜟 1f71f
  • 🜱 1f731
  • e015
  • 🜬 1f72c
  • 🜯 1f72f

Other substances:
  • e01e
  • e034
  • 2646
  • e018
  • 🜾 1f73e
  • 🝏 1f74f
  • 🝐 1f750
  • e037
  • 🝎 1f74e
  • e03b
  • e03c
  • e033
  • e022
  • 🝆 1f746
  • e061
  • e048
  • e029

 
  • e054
  • 🜿 1f73f
  • e057
  • e05f
  • e060
  • e058
  • 🝑 1f751
  • 🝒 1f752
  • 🝈 1f748
  • e019
  • 🝕 1f755
  • e05b

Apparatus / processes:
  • 🝫 1f76b
  • e05d
  • 🜊 1f70a
  • e039
  • e01c
  • 🝞 1f75e
  • 🝧 1f767
  • e01d

Astrology:
  • 2648
  • 2652
  • 264b
  • 2651
  • e00b
  • 🜨 1f728
  • 264a
  • e00a
  • 264c
  • 264e
  • 2653
  • e049
  • e00c
  • 2650
  • 264f

 
  • 2649
  • e01f
  • 264d
  • 🝰 1f770
  • 2645

Measures and weights:
  • e002
  • e004
  • ʒ 0292
  • 🝳 1f773
  • e02b
  • e003
  • 2125
  • e001
  • e005
  • 2114
  • 2108
  • 211e

Paleography:
  • e100
  • e11b
  • e200
  • e101
  • e102
  • e201
  • e103
  • e104
  • e105
  • e106
  • e122
  • e107
  • e108
  • e109
  • e10a
  • e10b
  • e10c
  • e10d
  • e202
  • e204

 
  • e023
  • e203
  • e025
  • e10e
  • e020
  • e205
  • e206
  • e207
  • e10f
  • e11a
  • e127
  • e120

 
  • e110
  • e121
  • e123
  • e111
  • e124
  • e112
  • e113
  • e125
  • e114
  • e126
  • e115
  • e116
  • e117
  • e118
  • e119

Editorial marks:
  • 26b9
  • e031
  • 2041
  • e026
  • e027
  • e02c
  • e02d
  • e021
  • e02a
  • e028
  • e02f
  • e030
  • e02e
  • 261e
  • 🝮 1f76e
  • 25a1
  • e032

Multimedia Lab

Newton's chymistry was in many cases fully operational and explicable in modern chemical terminology. In order to drive this point home, we have prepared a lab unit, "Newton's 'Chymistry' of Metal Solubilities," that can be employed in schools as an integral part of their science education curricula. The lab unit is divided into three levels of difficulty, although the individual levels all build on the same simple reactions taken from "Query 31" of Newton's Opticks.

The first level, intended for Middle School science courses, involves basic observation of color changes as metals replace one another in solutions. In 2004-5, the exercises depicted here were successfully tested in the 8th- Grade science course taught by Nancy Martin at Jackson Creek Middle School in Bloomington, Indiana. The color changes appearing during the reactions can also be observed in two time-lapse sequences filmed in the laboratory of Cathrine Reck at Indiana University. The first sequence illustrates the reduction of silver from a silver nitrate solution while copper is dissolved in the solution. The second time-lapse sequence depicts the reduction of the previously dissolved copper while iron is dissolved. We recommend that interested viewers who do not have access to a laboratory or properly equipped classroom download the videos below so that they can see what Newton himself observed.

The second level of difficulty ("Extension 1"), intended for beginning High School students, adds a quantitative dimension by introducing the concept of molarity. Carrying out these calculations will give an excellent laboratory introduction to important concepts that the student will encounter on a regular basis in High School Chemistry.

The third level of difficulty ("Extension 2") introduces the concept of Redox, a normal component of advanced High School and beginning College Chemistry courses. The two time-lapse sequences that we provide are in fact examples of Redox reactions.


A hand holding a silver coin with the bottom third gold.

"Transmutation" of Silver into Gold

A medallion composed of a silver-gold alloy is dipped into nitric acid. Some of the silver dissolves, leaving gold. It looks as though the silver has been "transmuted" into gold.

Quicktime

Small saw blade in blue liquid inside of a flask.

"Transmutation" of Iron into Copper

The "transmutation" is actually copper-plating of a steel sawblade in a solution of copper sulfate and water.

Quicktime

Large flask of white liquid with ribbons of red.

Silica Garden Illustrating Mineral "Vegetation"

In Newton's day, a silica garden was usually made by placing ferric chloride lumps in a solution of potassium silicate, as in the following demonstration.

Quicktime

In a flask, a lump of silver metal with spikes growing out of it.

"Tree of Diana"

A crystalline growth emerges from a globular amalgam of silver and mercury in a solution of silver and mercury dissolved in nitric acid.

Quicktime

Flask viewed from above containing a green liquid.

Copper Dissolving in a Solution of Silver Nitrate

Copper dissolving in a solution of silver nitrate while the silver comes out of solution in metallic form.

Quicktime

Flask viewed from above containing iron shot.

Iron Shot Dissolving in the Solution of Copper Nitrate

Iron shot dissolving in the solution of copper nitrate formed during the previous reaction.

Quicktime

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