Guest Blog: The Technozion Thrill & Alchemy

Here's article deux by ABSR Sateesh with an account of his excitement for Technozion 2017. Read on as he takes you through the journey of Alchemy!

After a hectic long day full of classes, he was extremely tired but not able to sleep in the night. He was totally excited for the next day. It was neither his birthday nor was he going out on a date with his girlfriend nor there is an exam nor an Audi/Dj night the following day. But it was the day of Theme Release of their technical festival TECHNOZION. He has flooded all the social media groups with the posters of Theme release. He even changed his display/profile pictures to the same. After a lot of confrontation in his brain about what would the Theme of Tz17, he fell into sleep finally dreaming about next days event. The next morning he attended the classes with half mind counting down time for evening's Theme release.

Finally the time he has been waiting quite a long for did arrive. He set himself to Timesquare lawn in delirium. Then a sparkling teaser was screened which revealed stage was being set ready to take everyone into the astonishing world of ALQUIMIA. He then started wondering what was Alquimia all about? There were a lot of questions revolving in his brain. From where did this word Alquimia originate? Is it an English word? How is this Alquimia related to technology? Does Alquimia have any roots in Indian history? What we engineers have to do with this Alquimia? Even many of us might have felt the same the first time we did hear about this years theme Alquimia. Come let us all explore it together!

Alquimia is Spanish for the term Alchemy. Alchemy is a philosophical and proto-scientific tradition practiced with the aim to purify, mature, and perfect certain objects. Common aims were Chrysopoeia: the transmutation of base metals (eg, lead copper tin zinc) into noble metals (particularly gold); the creation of an elixir of immortality; the creation of panaceas able to cure any disease; and the development of an alkahest-a universal solvent. The perfection of the human body and soul was also thought to result from the Alchemical magnum opus.

A person who transforms or creates something through a seemingly magical process ie, practises Alchemy is known as Alchemist. Today we recognize Alchemy as a pseudoscience and give chemistry its rightful place as a serious scientific field, but the two terms initially overlapped in meaning before separating in the 17th century, just as astrology and astronomy did during the same period. Alchemy and Alchemist are in fact older words than chemistry and chemist in English. Alchemists believed that lead could be perfected into gold or some essential element could be changed into a superior form, that diseases could be cured, and that life could be prolonged through Transmutation. Their secretive experiments that usually involved heating and mixing of liquids, led to the development of pharmacology and the rise of modern chemistry. Though the term is often limited to descriptions of European alchemy, but similar practices existed in the Far East, the Indian subcontinent, and the Muslim world. 

Alchemy in India

The goals of alchemy in India included the creation of a divine body and immortality while still embodied. Some early alchemical writings seem to have their origins in the Kaula tantric school and Jaina medical treatise written in South India in the early 9th century. Sanskrit alchemical texts included material on the manipulation of mercury and sulphur, that are homologized with the semen of the god Siva and the menstrual blood of the goddess Devi. Two famous early Indian alchemical authors were Nagarjuna Siddha: His Rasendramangalam book is an example of Indian alchemy in medicine; Nityanatha Siddha: He was said to have developed a method of converting mercury into gold.

The 11th-century Persian chemist Abu Rayhan Biruni, who visited Gujarat as part of the court of Mahmud of Ghazni reported that: They have a science similar to alchemy which is quite peculiar to them, which in Sanskrit is called Rasayana. It means the art of obtaining and manipulating Rasa (nectar mercury juice). This art was restricted to certain operations, metals, drugs, compounds, and medicines, many of which have mercury as their core element. Its principles restored the health of those who were ill beyond hope and gave back youth to fading old age. The use of Mercury for alchemy is first documented in the 3 rd or 4 th century Arthashastra. The Vedas describe a connection between eternal life and gold. This power to transform things for the better, real or imagined, led to figurative meanings for alchemy and alchemist.

Wasn’t the expedition of Alquimia we made till now exciting? Why make your friends from elsewhere miss this upcoming featured world of Transmutation during TZ '17? Come let’s all join our hands together in taking our fest to greater heights. Everyone mark the dates 27, 28 and 29 of October 2017 in deepest of your hearts for an impressive TZ '17.
Remember it is ALQUIMIA season right now. Stay tuned to find out what TZ '17 Alchemists have in store for you!