mineral (as opposed to the chemical element)
Sulfur mining, Ijen

Quotes edit

  • There are several ways of performing Tas'id, (a rising up) in the aludel (the sublimatory apparatus), and the substances which the chemists sublime in it are Mercury, Arsenic sulfide, Sulfur and Sal-Amoniac. They are placed after treatment in the aludel, and the cover being fitted in position over it, a fire is lit. Then the substance rises up, and settles on the shelf...
    • Abu Bakr al-Razi, Al-Madkhalḵẖal al-Ta'līmī, Instructive Introduction (ca. 900) as quoted in Martin Levy, Chemistry and the Chemical Technology in Ancient Mesopotamia (1959) p. 39.
  • The natural principles in the mines are mercury and sulphur. All metals and minerals whereof there be sundry and diverse kinds are begotten of these two. But I must tell you that nature always intendeth and striveth to the perfection of gold. But many accidents coming between change the metals, for according to the purity and impurity of the two afore said principles, mercury and sulphur, pure and impure metals are engendered. Sulphur is not the last amongst the principles because it is a part of the metal. Yea, and the principle part of the philosopher's stone, and many wise men have left in writing diverse and very true things of sulphur. For the blood of sulphur is that inward virtue and dryness which congeals quicksilver into gold, and imparts health and perfection in all bodies.
    • Roger Bacon (ca. 1220–1292) De Secretis Operibus Artis et Naturæ, et de Nullitate Magiæ (Of the Secret Works of Art and Nature, and Nullity of Magic)
  • If you prudently desire to make our elixir, you must extract it from a mineral root. For as Geber saith, you must obtain the perfection of the matter from the seeds thereof. Sulphur and mercury are the mineral roots, and natural principles, upon which nature herself acts and works in the mines and caverns of the earth, which are viscous water, and subtil spirits running through the pores, veins, and bowels of the mountains. Of them is produced a vapour or cloud, which is the substance and body of metals united, ascending, and reverberating upon its own proper earth, (as Geber sheweth) even till by a temperate digestion through the space of a thousand years, the matter is fixed, and converted into a mineral stone, of which metals are made.
  • Volcanic ash, despite the name, is dense as rock and can cause significant damage to structures, power lines and communications. It is also toxic because it contains chemicals such as sulfur, chlorine or fluorine, and it can therefore affect water supplies.
  • There is another type of exploding supernova that also seeds the Galaxy with elements. This is the type Ia supernova. This explosion involves a binary system in which a white dwarf star and an intermediate-mass star (a red giant) orbit each other. The two stars are so close to each other that the white dwarf gradually pulls a considerable amount of material from the outer envelope of the expanding red giant. At a certain point the white dwarf will acquire so much mass that it collapses under its own weight and produces an explosion that blasts the bulk of its material into the interstellar medium—mostly in the form of iron, but also some sulfur, silicon and calcium. Such explosions contributed about 70 percent of the iron we see today in the Galaxy.
  • 'isn't it brimstone morning?'
    'I forgot, my dear,' rejoined Squeers; 'yes, it certainly is. We purify the boys' bloods now and then, Nickleby.'
    'Purify fiddlesticks' ends,' said his lady. 'Don't think, young man, that we go to the expense of flower of brimstone and molasses, just to purify them; because if you think we carry on the business in that way, you'll find yourself mistaken, and so I tell you plainly. ...They have the brimstone and treacle, partly because if they hadn't something or other in the way of medicine they'd be always ailing and giving a world of trouble, and partly because it spoils their appetites and comes cheaper than breakfast and dinner. So, it does them good and us good at the same time, and that's fair enough I'm sure.'
  • Proposals for chemical weapons that arose during the American Civil War are described. Most incendiary and all biological agents are excluded. The described proposals appeared primarily in periodicals or letters to government officials on both sides. The weapons were usually meant to temporarily disable enemy combatants, but some might have been lethal, and Civil War caregivers were ill-prepared to deal with the weapons’ effects. Evidently, none of the proposed weapons were used. In only one instance was use against civilians mentioned. Among the agents most commonly proposed were cayenne pepper or other plant-based irritants such as black pepper, snuff, mustard, and veratria. Other suggested agents included chloroform, chlorine, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic compounds, sulfur, and acids. Proponents usually suggested that the chemicals be included in explosive artillery projectiles. Less commonly proposed vehicles of delivery included fire engines, kites, and manned balloons. Some of the proposed weapons have modern counterparts.
    • Guy R. Hasegawa, "Proposals for Chemical Weapons during the American Civil War", Military Medicine, 173, 5:499, 2008, p. 499.
  • From this theoretical structure of nature evolved the assumptions upon which alchemy was based: the unity of the universe and relatedness of all natural phenomena as expressed by the idea of prima materia from which all bodies were formed and into which they might again be dissolved, and the existence of a potent transmuting agent capable of promoting the change of one kind of material into another... This transmuting agent became known as the philosopher's stone, an object so quintessential it could not only transmute metals, but cure illness and prolong life....The process was composed of three stages. In the first, the alchemist heated the primary material, usually a blend of salt, mercury and sulfur, until it dissolved and turned black with decay. Under this continuous heat the liquid became dry, powdery and white. If all was done properly, the materials would eventually recombine and become a brilliant red, the color of the philosopher's stone.
    • Carl Jung, Psychology and Alchemy (1977) Tr. R.F.C. Hull.
  • ...let us rather choose
    Arm'd with Hell flames and fury all at once
    O're Heav'ns high Towrs to force resistless way,
    Turning our Tortures into horrid Arms
    Against the Torturer; when to meet the noise
    Of his Almighty Engin he shall hear
    Infernal Thunder, and for Lightning see
    Black fire and horror shot with equal rage
    Among his Angels; and his Throne it self
    Mixt with Tartarean Sulphur, and strange fire,
    His own invented Torments.
  • The crude sulphur found in Sicily and other places is heated in pots, whereupon the sulphur melts and floats on the surface of the earthy matter which remains at the bottoms of the pots; the melted sulphur is poured into moulds, where it solidifies, and the earthy matter left in the pots is thrown away.
  • In some parts of the East, sulphur is separated from the earthy matter wherewith it is mixed in the soil, by heating the crude material very strongly in earthen pots, each covered with another similar pot inverted on it. The sulphur melts and then becomes gaseous and the gaseous, sulphur condenses in the upper pots, which are comparatively cool; the fine yellow powder which condenses is approximately pure sulphur; the earthy impurities remain in the lower pots.
  • Recent "clean coal technologies" and use of low sulfur fuels have resulted in decreasing sulfate concentrations...
    • National Academy of Sciences, Committee on the Science of Climate Change, Division on Earth and Life Studies, National Research Council Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions (2001)
  • Putting a low price on valuable environmental resources is a phenomenon that pervades modern society. Agricultural water is not scarce in California; it is underpriced. Flights are stacked up on runways because takeoffs and landings are underpriced. People wait for hours in traffic jams because road use is unpriced. People die premature deaths from small sulfur particles in the air because air pollution is underpriced. And the most perilous of all environmental problems, climate change, is taking place because virtually every country puts a price of zero on carbon dioxide emissions.
    • William Nordhaus, "The Pope & the Market" The New York Review of Books (October 8, 2015)
  • Mineral bodies are vapors which have coagulated in nature in the course of long lapses of time, and the first things which coagulate are quicksilver and sulphur, for these and not water or oil (oleum) are the elements of minerals, for the first... (quicksilver) is generated from a water and the other (sulphur) from an oil. Upon these things there operates a gentle digestion constantly with heat and moisture until they are solidified and from them (metallic) bodies are generated by gradual mutation in thousands of years. For if they remain in their minerals, nature purifies them until they arrive at a kind of gold or silver. But by the subtlety of the artist, transmutation of this kind is made in one day or in a brief space of time.
  • There are seven things that can be elongated by hammering at the furnace, namely Sol, that is gold, luna (silver), tin, copper (aes), iron, lead. These are formed in nature under the earth. Gold is generated in the earth by the great heat of the sun from excellent quicksilver and red and pure sulphur by digestion in the rocks for a hundred years or more; silver from pure quicksilver and pure sulphur digested for a hundred years. But copper (...cuprum instead of aes) from impure quicksilver and impure sulphur digested for a hundred years. ...Lead, the philosophers say, is made under the earth from impure and thick quicksilver and from the worst sulphur and is a crude mixture and not well digested. And lead... renders gold breakable... Tin, however, is made from excellent and pure quicksilver, but from the poorest sulphur impure and not well digested. Iron is from thick quicksilver and thick red sulphur, and is not sufficiently digested.
    • Pseudo-Avicenna, Alchemia de Anima (~12th century) as quoted by ** John Maxson Stillman, The Story of Early Chemistry (1924) p. 241, citing Vincent de Beauvis, Speculum Naturale, Book VIII, 4.
  • Now, according to the ancient Sages there are two principles of things, and more particularly of metals, namely, Sulphur and Mercury; according to the Moderns there are three: Salt, Sulphur, and Mercury, and the source of these principles are the elements; of which it therefore behoves us to speak first. Be it known to the students of this art that there are four elements, and that each has at its centre another element which makes it what it is. These are the four pillars of the world. They were in the beginning evolved and moulded out of chaos by the hand of the Creator; and it is their contrary action which keeps up the harmony and equilibrium of the mundane machinery; it is they which, through the virtue of celestial influences, produce all things above and beneath the earth.
    • Michael Sendivogius, Novum Lumen Chymicum (1604) or New Chemical Light, Concerning Sulphur, Preface.
  • He can perform a thousand things, and is the heart of all. He can perfect metals and minerals, impart understanding to animals, produce flowers in herbs and trees, corrupt and perfect air; in short, he produces all the odours and paints all the colors of the world. ...Know friend, that sulphur is the virtue of the world. And though Nature's second-born, yet the oldest of all things. To those who know him, however, he is as obedient as a little child. He is most easily recognized by the vital spirit in animals, the colour in metals, the odour in plants. Without his help his mother can do nothing.
  • Whip me, ye devils,
    From the possession of this heavenly sight!
    Blow me about in winds! Roast me in sulphur!
    Wash me in steepdown gulfs of liquid fire!
    O Desdemon! dead, Desdemon! dead!
    O! O! O!
  • Of Sulphur, Pliny states, there are four kinds, but he makes no very intelligible characterization of their differences. "Live" sulphur (sulphur vivum), ocurring in masses or blocks is the only kind used in medicine. The others are used respectively by fullers, for the fumigation of wool, and the preparation of lamp wicks (...evidently we use it in matches). Sulphur was also used in religious ceremonies, and for fumigating houses, and for fumigating (bleaching) cloth. The virtues of sulphur are to be perceived in certain hot mineral springs, and there is no substance that ignites more readily, "a proof that there is in it a great affinity for fire."
    • John Maxson Stillman, The Story of Early Chemistry (1924) reprinted as The Story of Alchemy and Early Chemistry (1960) pp. 69-70.
  • On November first, 1772, Lavoisier had deposited a sealed note with the Secretary of the Academy of Sciences, in which he states that he has discovered the sulphur and phosphorus when burned gained weight. "This increase of weight is due to a great quantity of air which becomes fixed during the combustion and which combines with the vapours." He expresses his conviction that the same is true of all combustions and calcinations.
    • John Maxson Stillman, The Story of Early Chemistry (1924) reprinted as The Story of Alchemy and Early Chemistry (1960) p. 491.

A History of Chemistry from the Earliest Times (1920) edit

by James Campbell Brown. Originally published as A History of Chemistry from the Earliest Times till the Present Day (1913)
  • His alchemical doctrine, that everything consisted of three elements—mercury, sulphur, and salt—is adapted from old authors, but he was the first to use the word "alcahest" to indicate the universal menstruum or solvent, which at that time was a special object of research. He describes this liquor, alcahest, as having great power over the liver, comforting and confirming it, and preserving it from dropsy and other diseases that take their origin within it. ...Unhappily, he does not give precise directions for the preparation of this invaluable remedy.
    • Ch. XI The Protest of Paracelsus, p. 110.
  • He arranged the several parts of man, his own universal elements, and the Aristotelian elements in triplets, thus :—
Soul Spirit Body
Mercury Sulphur Salt
Water Air Earth
  • Thomas Erastus (1523-83)... adopted the reasoning of scholastic philosophy and thus weakened the force of his attack, but he pointed out many contradictions in the writings of Paracelsus and his followers, denied the existence of the philosopher's stone, and combated the idea that mercury, sulphur, and salt are the elements of living bodies.
    • Ch. XI The Protest of Paracelsus, p. 113.
  • After a visit to Germany, France, England, and the Scottish lead mines, Thurneysser started mining and sulphur-extracting in 1558...
    • Ch. XI The Protest of Paracelsus, p. 113.
  • [T]he writings and labours of the alchemists were both extensive and important. ...[T]heir studies, although misdirected, were not... haphazard. The alchemists had a definite, and... logical, system of philosophy... [T]hey recognised—(1) the unity of matter; (2) the three principles—philosophical mercury, sulphur, and salt; (3) the four elementsfire, air, water, and earth; and (4) the seven metals—gold, silver, mercury, copper, iron, tin, and lead.
    • Ch. XIII The Philosophy of the Alchemists, p. 129.
  • All metals and minerals consist of certain principles. These were at first called "mercury" and "sulphur," not the ordinary substances... but a philosophical mercury and a philosophical sulphur.
    • Ch. XIII The Philosophy of the Alchemists, pp. 129-130.
  • Traces of these ancient conceptions are still to be recognised in the word "quick-silver," that is living silver, a literal translation of argentum vivum. A term "quick-sulphur" (sulphur vivum) was also in use, but it has long since disappeared.
    • Ch. XIII The Philosophy of the Alchemists, p. 130.
  • The mercury of a metal... represented its lustre, volatility, fusibility, and malleability; the sulphur of the metal, its colour, combustibility, affinity, and hardness.
    • Ch. XIII The Philosophy of the Alchemists, p. 130.
  • The salt of the metal was merely a means of union between the mercury and the sulphur, just as the vital spirit in man unites soul and body. It was doubtless devised to impart a triple form to the idea, in conformity with the method of the theological schoolmen.
    • Ch. XIII The Philosophy of the Alchemists, p. 130.
  • Mercury, sulphur, and salt were not three matters, but one, derived from the prima materia.
    • Ch. XIII The Philosophy of the Alchemists, p. 130.
  • [W]hen an alchemist converted a metal into its oxide, or, as they expressed it, "made a calx" of it, he thought he had volatilised its mercury and fixed its sulphur. When he distilled ordinary mercury and found a solid residue in the alembic, he called it the "sulphur" of mercury; when he found a sublimed product in the receiver (mercury bichloride), he termed it the "mercury" of mercury or "corrosive sublimate."
    • Ch. XIII The Philosophy of the Alchemists, p. 130.
  • The more logical mind of Artephius Longaevus introduced a modification of this theory. He distinguished two properties in a metal—the visible and the occult. The former, comprehending its colour, lustre, extension, and other properties visible to the eye, he called its "sulphur"; the latter, comprehending its fusibility, malleability, volatility, and other properties not visible until after... special treatment, he called its "mercury."
    • Ch. XIII The Philosophy of the Alchemists, p. 130.
  • They were thus able to apply the conception of the three principles to that of the four elements. Earth corresponded to philosophical sulphur, and water to philosophical mercury. Later, when they conceived philosophical salt, they devised a fifth element called "quintessence" or "ether." which corresponded to the third principle. Thus, if an alchemist distilled wood and obtained an inflammable gas, a liquid oil and a solid residue, he said that he had decomposed the wood into its elements—fire, water, and earth.
    • Ch. XIII The Philosophy of the Alchemists, p. 131.
  • The sulphur of a metal was its active principle; the mercury its passive; the salt was the link which united the other two.
    • Ch. XIII The Philosophy of the Alchemists, p. 132.
  • The sulphur, the property of dryness and heat, ultimately overcame the mercury, the property of wetness and cold, and thus changes were effected. ...[S]ulphur was the father, mercury the mother, and metals were conceived between them. In this expression the philosophical principles are meant, not the ordinary substances called sulphur and mercury.
    • Ch. XIII The Philosophy of the Alchemists, p. 132.
  • [A]lchemists accounted for the diversity of metals by five causes:—
    1. Variation in the proportion of the principles, mercury and sulphur.
    2. Variation in the purity of these principles.
    3. Variation in the duration of the period of concoction to which the compound was subjected in the bowels of the earth.
    4. Variation in planetary influences.
    5. Variation in accidental influences.
    • Ch. XIII The Philosophy of the Alchemists, p. 132.
  • At a still later date it was argued that exact and natural sciences proceed by induction and deduction, and occult and spiritual sciences by analogy. Following out this line of thought the alchemists produced the following remarkable trilogy:—
Material world Sulphur Mercury Salt
Human world Body Soul Spirit
Divine world Father Son Holy Ghost
  • These mystic alchemists interpreted the three principles in their own fashion. Mercury, the passive and female principle, was matter; sulphur, the active and male principle, was force; and salt, the middle term in the proposition, was movement, which applied force to matter. Or, expressed in another shape, mercury was the subject: sulphur, the cause; and salt, the effect. Symbolically, the theory was represented by an equilateral triangle, in one angle of which was the sign of sulphur or force; in the second, the sign of mercury or matter; and in the third, the sign of salt or movement.
    • Ch. XIII The Philosophy of the Alchemists, pp. 133-134.
  • He asserted that the metals are composed of the mercury and sulphur of the philosophers, to which he added philosophical salt. The philosopher's stone, he said, is composed of the same materials.
    • Ch. XVII The Iatrochemists, p. 196.
  • He strongly maintained the virtues of aurum potabile (liquid gold), and wrote a book entitled Medicinae Chymicae et Veri Potabilis Auri Assertio (1610). Another tract, De Lapide philosophorum et Lapide Rebis, related to the older alchemy. ...[I]n alchemical symbolism "Rebis" was the name given to the hermaphrodite figure representing the union of the great philosophical principles, sulphur and mercury, in the operation of making the philosopher's stone...
    • Ch. XVII The Iatrochemists, p. 196.
  • Paracelsus had discarded the disgusting decoctions of Galen and introduced chemical medicines, while Libavius and Sala had dismissed the fanatical conceptions which disfigured and almost nullified the teachings of both Paracelsians and Rosicrucians, but chemists still adhered either to the Aristotelian doctrine of the four elements, or to the later theory of the three principles (mercury, sulphur, and salt). Jan Baptist van Helmont (1577—1644) was the first to deny these propositions, and to begin a revolution in the philosophy of chemistry.
    • Ch. XVII The Iatrochemists, pp. 198-199.
  • He noticed that when copper and sulphur are mixed, they exhibit an electric potential, which increases with increasing temperature until finally they combine, and all traces of electricity disappear. Hence, he inferred that the same forces which, acting on masses at a distance, produce electric phenomena, when acting on atoms at small distances, produce chemical combination, the positive electricity of the one atom attracting and holding the negative of the other. In electrolysis the positive charge is on one and the negative on the other, but these two charges have to be discharged through the electrode before the elements are set free. This is the reverse of what takes place in combination. Davy in this view differed from the electro-chemical theory of Berzelius.
    • Ch. XXX The Rise of Electro-Chemistry, pp. 339-340.

Creations of Fire (1995) edit

: Chemistry's Lively History from Alchemy to the Atomic Age Cathy Cobb, Harold Goldwhite
  • By 3000 BCE the Sumerians, perhaps while heating copper to make it more malleable, had discovered that more copper could be retrieved from the fire if the metal were heated with certain types of dirt and stones—that is, certain earths. These earths were the metal ores, and the process they discovered, smelting, reduced metal salts to pure metal by the action of carbon in the charcoal fire. The process of changing metal salts into pure metal is known as reduction because the metal without the accompanying oxygen, halogen, or sulfur of the salt weighs less than the ore. Eventually metal workers learned to distinguish various metal-bearing ores by color, texture, weight, flame color, or smell when heated (such as garlic odor of arsenic ores) and they could produce a desired material on demand.
    • p. 8.
  • The Bronze Age did not arrive in China until around 1500 BCE, and iron appeared only about 500 BCE, but by the beginning of their alchemical age, around 100 CE, the Chinese had knowledge of zinc and brass... mercury, sulfur and several of the common salts, such as niter.
    • p. 43.
  • Pliny recorded processes involving metals, salts, sulfur, glass, mortar, soot, ash, and a large variety of chalks, earths, and stones.
    • p. 55.
  • [C]hemical weapons were not new to the world. Besieged towns had thrown pots of burning sulfur, asphalt and pitch on soldiers since at least 200 CE.
    • p. 62.
  • Reminiscent of Aristotle, Jabir proposed... two exhalations: "earthy smoke" (small particles of earth on their way to becoming fire) and "watery vapor" (small particles of water on their way to becoming air). These, he believed, mingled to become the metals. But Jabir modified the Aristotelian approach by proposing that exhalations underwent intermediate transformations into sulfur and mercury before becoming metal. The reason for the existence of different types of metals, he believed, was that the sulfur and mercury were not always pure. He proposed that if the right proportions of sulfur and mercury with the right purity could be found... gold would result.
    • p. 64.
  • Paracelsus' greatest triumph was the use of mercury to treat syphilis, the new disease of the day. ...Paracelsus may have heard of the treatment in his travels... or the discovery may have been serendipitous, based on... the extension of the mercury-sulfur theory of the Islamic alchemists to a tria prima... of mercury (soul), sulfur (spirit), and salt (body). But... there is no record of the number of people he adversely affected while experimenting with potions that were not effective, which may have been considerable.
    • p. 100.

"The Volcanic Chemistry of Sulfur" (2023) edit

"- with Andrew Szydlo" a video presentation of "Brimstone Volcanoes and Fire" (Dec 2, 2023) Dr. Andrew Z Szydlo, Highgate School, Royal Institution of Great Britain, from The Royal Institution YouTube channel.
  • I am holding... one of the most extraordinary substances known to the human race... sulfur... known... since the dawn of humanity. ...[I]t was found in volcanic regions ...and one of the most remarkable things they found about this yellow solid that it burns.
    • 0:16.
  • It's burning with a blue flame... giving off the most foul and acrid fumes... So there is our "burning stone," which in old English was called brimstone.
    • 1:40
  • [O]ne of the things that's associated with sulfur and... its compounds is unpleasant smells.
    • 2:18
  • This is a volcano... that cloud of smoke... is... full of sulfurous fumes...
    • 2:58
  • The word sulfur... goes... back to... the Hindu civilization... over 5,000 years ago. They had a word for sulfur... in... Sanskrit... sulvere... the enemy of copper. ...[T]hat is the ...destruction of the copper by the hot sulfur vapors... [T]he copper turns into... copper sulfide ...a black crumbly solid. ...The Latin [derived from sulvere] ...becomes sulphur.
  • 3:42
  • [S]ulfur beautifully burning in a gas jar full of oxygen... is a blue flame... [W]e now have a jar full of sulfurous fumes... [W]e allow the water to mix... The water has been colored green with a... universal indicator... As if by magic, the water... [turns] red and now it's gone yellow. ...[T]he sulfur dioxide ...gas ...when it reacts with water ...makes sulfurous acid.
    • 6:52
  • [I]t comes out of... volcanoes. ...[I]n ...human history things ...from underground have had... evil connotations... During the rise of various religions and... cultures sulfur was associated with evil... especially... in Christianity... connotations of hell, damnation... the dark underworld... punishment for... sins. ...[C]onnatations which we today ...know are not true...
    • 9:18
  • [W]hen you heat fool's gold... some crushed pyrites... [y]ou can see the appearance of this yellow color, and ...a little bit of crackling... decrepitation. ...[T]he crystals... are breaking up into a powder ...because when you heat things up, they expand on the outside, but not on the inside. ...The yellow stuff is beginning to collect ...It is sulfur ...
    • 19:56
  • [P]yrites is the most widely distributed mineral of sulfur ...the chemical name is iron sulfide. ...It has the formula FeS2 and ...thousands of years ago people ...recognized that when you heat it, you ...make sulfur ...
    • 24:18
  • This mineral ...galena. It's lead sulfide. ...Beautiful silver crystals. If you heat this strongly, this too will make sulfur come off.
    • 25:13
  • There are many other sulfides, but this one is... special... Known in the ancient world as dragon's blood, and the reason... this red color. ...[W]hen they heated this strongly ...(This was particularly well known in ancient China and... in southern Spain.) makes two... remarkable substances. One of them is sulfur... the other... is the liquid metal... mercury. ...[T]his fired up the imagination of ...ancient philosophers ...asking questions about ultimately what are all metals made of.
    • 25:56
  • [T]he great Arabic alchemists... in the 8th or 9th century AD... came up with the idea that ultimately all metals are composed of sulfur and mercury...
    • 27:21
  • [T]he sulfur-mercury theory... reasoning was... straightforward. They said... "If you mix this [mercury] with this [sulfur] in the right proportion, you can make any metal."
    • 28:15
  • Science is very difficult, and... the ancient world... was... a world of correspondences. ...[S]omething ...could well be ...actually made of things that make it look like something. ...That was the cleverest way ...people used to view the world in those days.
    • 28:58
  • I have some beautiful crystals... these green ones and the blue ones... have been observed... [from] water evaporating on the side of lakes... close to volcanoes... [T]hey have... a glassy appearance. ...[T]he Sumerians, 2000 years ago ...described these ...The Latin word for glass is vitriolus [or vitrum] and so glassy substance became known as vitriols. ...[T]he medieval chemists discovered that if you heat these [crystals] very strongly... they give off a... terribly powerful smell and... a liquid which is capable of dissolving... metals. ...It was called oil of vitriol because it came from those glassy substances, but today we call it sulfuric acid.
    • 35:30
  • [T]he types of substances... made when metals dissolve in [sulfuric] acids...are called sulfates. In the olden language they were called vitriols. ...Here I have some beautiful crystals of copper sulfate vitriol. ...Here... iron sulfate... iron [or green] vitriol, which is the first sulfate... that they made the... sulfuric acid from, and... some crystals of white vitriol... zinc sulfate. ...But I want to show you a most interesting [clear] mineral ...extremely beautiful. ...This comes out of the ground ...[A]lmost everyone ...would have lots of this in your houses. ...The mineral is called gypsum. The chemical name is calcium sulfate ...[from which] we make plaster. ...Once again sulfur playing a key role in our everyday lives.
    • 40:26
  • We have wonderful uses of sulfuric acid on an everyday basis. ...[J]ust about every ...motorcar [which runs on diesel or on petrol] ...has sulfuric acid ...inside the car battery.
    • 42:39
  • [T]he fact that sulfur has a low melting point of 115°C... has been exploited in making molds...
    • 56:18
  • I'm going to melt the sulfur. ...The ...sulfur has molecules whose formulae are S8 ...They're pocket rings. They're like little crowns. ...[W]hen you get to roughly 160°C ...they break up ...and they start making a polymer. They polymerize, like a plastic. ...I'm going to pour it into some cold water. golden syrup. ...It's what we call plastic sulfur. ...[I]t's neither a liquid nor a solid.
    • 56:46
  • [A]bout 1,200 years ago... Al Razi... started making marzipan... and... introduced marzipan into Europe... the tradition of using... sulfur for [marzipan] molds...
    • 1:02:37
von Guericke's Sulfur Globe
  • [A]n electric machine... first produced by Otto von Guericke... is based on... attractor forces. ...[I]f you take a lump of sulfur and... rub it with a silk cloth... it will start to pick up bits of paper... hair... feather... [A]nother mineral... amber [Latin electrum]... had the same property. ...Otto von Guericke made a special globe out of sulfur ...and he described the remarkable reactions of things being ...attracted to it ...[I]t was the birth of electrostatics ...
    • 1:03:43
  • [T]he reason why sulfur dioxide is so interesting and why... the chemistry of sulfur is so interesting, is because sulfur is a very, very reactive element. Not only is it reactive, but it can form many different kinds of chemical combination...
    • 1:08:14

  • The way we test... for... sulfur dioxide is to put in a burning splint... and you see it has gone out.
    • 1:08:40
Sulphur from Gunung Ijen volcano
  • This gas comes out of volcanoes as well as sulfur dioxide, and... is called hydrogen sulfide. ...It has a phenomenally unpleasant smell of rotten eggs. Apart from that, it's unbelievably poisonous. ...[I]t undergoes an extraordinarily interesting reaction with sulfur dioxide. ...The lower jar is going yellow ...[W]e have made sulfur. ...also ...water. ...Two gases have reacted together to make a solid and a liquid. Secondly, two compounds of sulfur have made the element sulfur... Furthermore... it's... a redox reaction in which sulfur is reduced in one... and oxidized in the other. ...[M]any geologists believe that these two gases come out of volcanoes together and... make huge deposits of sulfur... found at the mouths of volcanoes.
    • 1:10:05
  • Sulfur is today obtained mainly from extraction from fossil fuels, from coal, from gas and from crude oil.
    • 1:13:16
  • [T]here's magnesium burning, and... we lower it into sulfur dioxide. It carried on burning for a little while... [I]n sulfur dioxide, magnesium... breaks the bonds between the sulfur and the oxygen... itself becoming magnesium oxide... and releasing a little... sulfur... [T]hat's an example of sulfur dioxide as an oxidizing agent.
  • Sulfur dioxide... is... present in many wines. ...Usually ...sulfur dioxide is used as a food preservative, ...but they usually call it sulfite ... .
    • 1:14:54
  • [S]ulfur is unbelievably reactive. ...Sulfur can form 4 hooks, 2 hooks, -2. Oxidation states +4, +6 and -2, 0 in... the element...
    • 1:24:58
  • Vulcanization is adding tiny amounts of sulfur to rubber to make it much stiffer. ...If not for ...vulcanization, we'd have no tires ...on motorcars, on airplanes or bicycles. We'd have no hoses in cars and so on... The world would be quite different. Vulcanization was invented by Charles Goodyear in 1840, one of the most important uses of sulfur today.
    • 1:41:57
  • These are the three ingredients in gunpowder, which were known to the Chinese ...about 1,000 years ago: sulfur, charcoal and potassium nitrate. ...[T]hey're used in explosives and fireworks...
    • 1:42:34

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