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De re metallica. Johannes Kepler and alchemy

By G. Zilberstein, S. Zilberstein, U. Maor, E. Baskin, A. D&apos and P.G. Righetti

Abstract

The application of analytical chemistry to the exploration of the World Cultural Heritage represents a major challenge in that most protocols and strategies are invasive and require micro-sampling. We report a novel methodology for harvesting material deposited on the surface of ancient documents while avoiding their damage or contamination. The technology here described relates to the capture of metals on these specimens. It is based on the use of plastic films (ethylene vinyl acetate, EVA) impregnated with different metal chelators (sodium 2,3-dimercapto-1-propanesulfonate, DMPS, meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid, DMSA and ethylene diamino tetra acetic acid, EDTA, as calcium salt), for harvesting from surfaces of different supports potential traces of metals therein deposited. The EVA film technology has been used to explore the pages of a manuscript written by Kepler concerning the movements of the moon and catalogued under the title \u201cHipparchus\u201d at the Archives of the Russian Academy of Sciences (St. Petersburg branch). The EVA-based chelating diskettes were able to capture very significant amounts of different metals, namely: Au, Ag, Hg, As, Pb, suggesting that Kepler, well known as astronomer, astrologist, mathematician and Lutheran theologian, might have started practicing alchemy, a pseudo-chemical science he had learned from his colleague Tycho Brahe in Prague

Topics: Ag, Alchemy, As, Au, Hg, Kepler, Pb, Settore CHIM/01 - Chimica Analitica
Publisher: 'Elsevier BV'
Year: 2019
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.talanta.2019.05.094
OAI identifier: oai:air.unimi.it:2434/673285
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