Alchemists were the chemists of the Middle Ages. Theories of alchemy might have grown from ideas of artisans. In ancient times they tried to imitate important metals. One method was to take a part of silver and an equal part of lead. They placed it in a furnace and kept melting it until all the lead had been consumed. They kept reaping this substance until it became perfect. In addition to chemistry they did pharmacy, medicine, geology, and physics. They believed they would succeed if they themselves were spiritual and pure. They also believed they would succeed of they could find an elixir that was called the "philosopher's stone." This method included dissolving and evaporating. Alchemists often wrote their work in codes to keep it out of other people's hands. They studied the properties of metals and chemical substances. They believed that all matter consisted of four basic elements. They were fire, air, earth, and water in different combinations. Most metals were imperfect; they could become perfect if they became gold, which had a balance of the four elements.
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