Sign up FAST! Login

Has Science Realized This 350-Year-Old Alchemist Wish List?

Has Science Realized This 350 Year Old Alchemist Wish List Facts So Romantic Nautilus


Today, many regard Boyle as the father of chemistry and the inventor of the modern experimental method. He was unafraid to explore the natural obscurities of his time or to drum up excitement about what the future might hold.

To that end, Boyle drafted up a 24-item pie-in-the-sky wish list in the 1660s, of what he hoped humankind would achieve in the future. Hoping to broaden the boundaries of possibility, he promised celebrity for anyone who accomplished “approximations” of his listed predictions.

Out of a total of 24 items, which he described only in short phrases, here are eight of the most interesting—and where we stand with them today.

Stashed in: Science!

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

My favorite is 1. Prolongation of Life

The shortness of life may have saddened Boyle. During his time, the average person lived into her mid-thirties. But, due to advances in medicine, including Alexander Flemming’s 1928 discovery of penicillin, the UK government has predicted that one third of babies born in 2013 will live past the round age of 100. This certainly qualifies as a “prolongation” but, being an alchemist, it’s likely that Boyle desired the ultimate solution: the elixir of life. That may be realized still, in the form of a genetically engineered solution to the cause of aging.

You May Also Like: