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Lawrence M. Principe[pronunciation?] is the Drew Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University in the Department of History of Science and Technology and the Department of Chemistry.[1] He is also currently the Director of the Charles Singleton Center for the Study of Premodern Europe, an interdisciplinary center for research at Johns Hopkins.[2] He earned undergraduate degrees at the University of Delaware (B.A. Liberal Studies, 1983; B.S. Chemistry, 1983) and did his graduate work at Indiana University (Ph.D. Organic Chemistry, 1988) and at Johns Hopkins (Ph.D. History of Science, 1996). He is the first recipient of the Francis Bacon Medal for significant contributions to the history of science.[3] Principe's research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and a 2015-2016 Guggenheim Fellowship.[4]

External video
Lawrence Principe crop 2012 CHF Science Secularization 035.jpg
Lawrence Principe on chemical history and "The Secrets of Alchemy"
Lawrence Principe discusses Thomas Wijck's "Alchemist in his Studio" , 2012, Chemical Heritage Foundation

Principe's main studies concern the early history of chemistry, particularly alchemy, although he is also active in the study of the relationships between science and religion. His early studies focused particularly on the works of Robert Boyle, especially their connection to the earlier study of alchemy.[5][6] His book The Aspiring Adept: Robert Boyle and His Alchemical Quest (Princeton, 1998) makes the case that Boyle was himself active as an alchemist.[7] His later book with William R. Newman, Alchemy Tried in the Fire: Starkey, Boyle, and the Fate of Helmontian Chymistry (University of Chicago Press, 2002) also promotes the continuity between alchemy and chemistry and was awarded the Pfizer Prize by the History of Science Society in 2005.[8] His most recent book, The Secrets of Alchemy (University of Chicago Press, 2013), provides a survey of the history of alchemy and includes explanations and replications of alchemical processes that he has carried out in his laboratory.[9] His book The Scientific Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2013) describes and contextualizes the important scientific developments that took place from about 1500 to 1700, and explores the worldviews and motivations of the people responsible for those developments; it has been translated into Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and Swedish.


  1. ^ Drew Professorship, Johns Hopkins University, retrieved 2011-06-23.
  2. ^ Muhammad, Scott. "Singleton Center: Johns Hopkins University". Retrieved 2015-10-06. 
  3. ^ The Francis Bacon Award in the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology Archived 2011-06-05 at the Wayback Machine., California Institute of Technology, retrieved 2011-06-23.
  4. ^ "John Simon Guggenheim Foundation | Lawrence M. Principe". Retrieved 2015-10-06. 
  5. ^ Browne, Malcolm W. (April 10, 1990), "In Alchemists' Notes, Clues to Modern Chemistry", New York Times .
  6. ^ Wilford, John Noble (August 1, 2006), "Transforming the Alchemists", New York Times .
  7. ^ Keiger, Dale (February 1999), "All That Glitters...", Johns Hopkins Magazine .
  8. ^ Review of Alchemy Tried in the Fire by Rose-Mary Sargent (2004), Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (1): 104–105.
  9. ^ Review of Secrets of Alchemy by Anthony Grafton, Science 338, pp. 1540-1 (21 December 2012), and