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Geber, Arabic alchemist

Geber, Arabic alchemist

H407/0332

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Geber (c.722-c.815), Arabic chemist, coloured historical artwork. Geber is the latinised version of the Arabic name Jabir ibn Hayyan. Geber is sometimes known as the Father of Chemistry, as he was instrumental in turning it from a mystical practice (alchemy) into a science. He insisted on mastery of practical chemistry skills, and invented much of the equipment that is still commonly used in laboratories. Although he worked on the alchemist's goal of turning base metals into gold, he did so in a scientific manner. His extensive writings included work on the use of furnaces, crystallisation and distillation. He also described many common compounds and substances, including acids, bases and salts. Here he is pictured teaching at the school at Edessa in Mesopotamia (now Sanliurfa in Turkey).

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