Thomas Philipot and chemical theories of the tides in seventeenth-century England

Roos, Anna Marie (2001) Thomas Philipot and chemical theories of the tides in seventeenth-century England. Ambix, 48 (3). pp. 125-136. ISSN 0002-6980

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Abstract

In seventeenth-century England, the ultimate causes of planetary beams were considered 'occult', an Aristotelian and early modern term utilised when distinguishing 'qualities which were evident to the senses from those which were hidden'. After the Restoration, natural philosophers attempted to
'rid the world of occult causes and to explain invisible forces like solar and lunar emanations' via the mechanical philosophy, mathematical, and chemical
systems. This examination of occult causes extended to the tides, or the effects of the sunshine and moonbeams upon the seas. Despite the multiplicity of explanations about the occult causes of the tides that existed, no scholarly
research has been done analysing chemical models of the sea's flux and reflux,
in particular those proposed by poet and writer Thomas Philipot (d. 1682). Philipot
proposed a theory of the tides based on chemical reactions and atmospheric pressure caused by the emanations of the sun and the moon on the seas. As Antonio Clericuzio and Allen Debus have illustrated, by the 1670s and 1680s, English scientists such as John Webster, Thomas Sherley, and William Simpson blended the iatrochemistry of Joan Baptista van Helmont (1579-1644) with the corpuscularianism of Robert Boyle (1627-1691) and the mechanical philosophy, applying the results to medicine. Philipot similarly applied such models, with a focus upon fixed and volatile salts, to the sea's flux and
reflux.

Keywords:Tides, Thomas Philipot, Salt chemistry, Prince Rupert's Drops
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V380 History of Science
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V382 History of Chemistry
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
ID Code:8064
Deposited On:18 Mar 2013 12:33

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