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Adam Lonicer's Kreuterbuch and 16th century distillation: An experimental approach to the study of Adam Lonicer and some of the technology applied by him and his contemporaries in the production of medicines
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology, Department of Chemistry.
2014 (English)MasteroppgaveStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The Kreuterbuch published by Adam Lonicer (1528--1586) in 1569 experienced immense popularity in the 16th century. The book is a lavishly illustrated herbal, in which distillation is a central theme. It has formed the basis for a full-scale reconstruction of distillation processes from the 16th century. With the aid of specialized craftsmen and -women from the University's workshop a furnace, equipment and glassware needed to reproduce the distillation techniques of the Renaissance were reconstructed. The ultimate goal of the reconstruction was both to investigate the equipment and techniques' efficiency with some modern methods, and to explore the synergetic effect of working with texts in parallel with the actual reconstruction. The methodology of reconstructing historical equipment and experiments in alchemy and chemistry has showed promise in several studies in history of science (Holmes and Levere, 2002), but as Martinón-Torres (2011) has pointed out, there is "a slant in practice-oriented studies towards the metallurgical aspects of alchemy that leaves much room for research on the practical aspects of iatrochemistry". The analyses of the reconstructed equipment shows that some of the hypotheses concerning the evolution of distillation technology should be revised. The thesis has been a part of the interdisciplinary Mubil (Museum and Library -- a digital laboratory) project.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutt for kjemi , 2014. , 184 p.
URN: urn:nbn:no:ntnu:diva-24590Local ID: ntnudaim:6929OAI: diva2:715167
Available from: 2014-04-30 Created: 2014-04-30 Last updated: 2014-04-30Bibliographically approved

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