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Tycho Brahe och Alchemy

"It is important to know that the seven planets in the heavens correspond to the seven metals on earth and the seven most important organs in man. All these things had been so finely and harmonically arranged in relation to each other, that they seemed almost to have the same function, type and nature."

– Therefore, the sun and the moon correspond to the two finest metals, gold and silver, and in man to the two most important organs, the heart and the brain. The two positive planets Jupiter and Venus correspond to the metals tin and copper, who occupy the second rank space, and who in the human body correspond to the liver – the blood organ – and the kidneys, which serve reproduction. The two supposedly negative planets Saturn and Mars correspond to the inferior metals of lead and iron, and within the human body the two simple and less necessary organs, the spleen and the gall bladder, which take up the black and the yellow gall. Just as the planet Mercury is of a more diffuse and more changeable nature than Proteus, the Tellurian mercury or quicksilver can also be present in a variety of different forms, take on the nature of other substances and experience strange transformations. In the human body, this corresponds to the lungs, whose task is to inhale air, blow life into the heart and other body parts, as well as to provide particularly for speech, as does the planet Mercury. (From a letter written by Tycho Brahe in 1588).

"I have conducted my investigations in alchemy and my chemical experiments with great care. The material that they deal with has some analogy with the heavenly bodies and their effects, which is why I usually call this science for The Earthly Astronomy." (From Tycho Brahe’s autobiography Mechanica). Tycho called his astronomical research "The Heavenly Chemistry".


The Renaissance chemist had two main objectives, firstly to make gold from base metals and secondly to find some universal medicine that would effectively cure all illnesses. The laboratory in the basement of Uraniborg was very well equipped. There were 16 furnaces for chemical, medical and alchemical experiments. Some of the furnaces were connected to stills whose cooling pipes went out of the windows and back into the laboratory. The results were largely kept secret by Tycho, but we know that he spent most of the time developing medicines.