1. Skip to content (Press Enter)
  2. Skip to navigation (Press Enter)
  3. Skip to footer (Press Enter)

Alchemy and ΑΧΣ

Alchemy and Alpha Chi Sigma

The Alchemist Discovering Phosphorus by Joseph Wright

Alchemy is best described as the ancient scientific tradition by which one attempts to discover the truth about the spiritual and temporal nature of reality; its structure, laws, and functions.

However, the commonly held idea is that the practice of alchemy was a foolish attempt on the part of the pseudo-chemist to find a substance which could transmute lead into gold (philosopher's stone), to discover an elixir which would make man immortal (elixir of life), to discover the universal solvent, or to reach some other equally fanciful goal.

There is no denying the fact that alchemy and the quest for these fanciful goals has led to the development of our modern chemical sciences. Here is where alchemy imparts its lessons upon the Brothers of Alpha Chi Sigma, and those that hope to be. The transformation of chemical sciences from the fumbling of devoted men, feeling their way with many a misstep, to the modern science we know today can be exemplary of the “transmutation” of a prospective member into a worthy Brother of Alpha Chi Sigma. The knowledge gained from this “transmutation” is valuable in all facets in the life of a Brother, from his or her time in college to the highest ranks of academia or industry.

For more information about Alchemy, its origin, and how it impacts Alpha Chi Sigma, view the Sourcebook, starting on page 73. 

In Pursuit of Science
by Max G. Gergel, Beta Eta 1977

Twilight had changed into night;
Now the room was filled with shadows.
Shadow-men threw stygian mantles
Over fluted flasks and beakers
Softly whispered “leave oh mortal,
Night time is the time for spirits,
Cease your dull and endless labor.”

In the flask a thousand faces
Peered from out the ebullition
Gazing sternly, disappearing
Into steam, with popping noises.
Forced to climb a great glass stairway
Seethed and foamed the frantic liquid
Heated by the bunsen burner.

Then I saw that sitting near me
Gazing mute at flask and cauldron
Was an Ancient, ragged, filthy
With the grime of laboratory;
Running nervous fingers gently
Through the tangled mass of whiteness,
From which poked a great red hawknose.

Flames leaped higher from the burners.
Turned from pencilled blue to yellow.
To the sound of spinning stirrer
There was added now a rasping
As my visitor spoke softly,
Partly to the bubbling liquid,
Partly to its wondering master.

“Sir,” he spoke like frenzied metal,
Tortured by a tearing toothed file,
“Do you practice here, spegyrics?
Are you waiting for the midnight?
Let me watch your machinations.
On the wall I see alembics.
Have you made a transformation?”


Waiting not to hear my answer
Rose the stranger, tall and stately.
Hurried over to the fire,
Sprinkled on the flames a powder.
Puff, the room was filled with vapor,
Sulfurous, and through the dense cloud
Glowed and roared a mighty funace!

“Zosimus, I am.” He shouted,
“Work, oh slave, this pair of bellows;
We shall wrest from base quicksilver
Virgin Gold.” Now like a demon,
Danced the man, before his fire
Sprinkling Lapis Philsophorum
As he called it, from a packet.

Now from out the flaming furnace
Roaring streams of yellow metal
Lighted up the mad alchemist
With a molten, dazzling brilliance.
But the wind unloosed a window
Blew in gusts of fragrant night air
Woke me from my semi-sleeping.

Searching on the floor before me,
Bright with rays of silv’ry moonlight,
Soon I spied the little packet
Sure this was not simple dreaming.
But the night was velvet quiet,
Only crickets, brightly singing.
Now the time was come for leaving.

Zosimus, I sat there musing.
Zosimus, the Arab chemist
Who had spent his life attempting
To transform base things to gold.
Never more will I be happy
Until I have learned the secret.
Far into the night I labor.


Connect With Us:

Alpha Chi Sigma

Alpha Chi Sigma

6296 Rucker Road, Suite B, Indianapolis, IN 46220 | (800) ALCHEMY (252-4369)