What Is Alchemy?


ASK October 2020. Who were the mysterious alchemists? Did they ever turn lead into gold? And could we?

Is it magic? Is it science? Is it both? This edition of ASK Magazine reveals the secrets of alchemy—from the origins of turning metal into gold, to modern practices of chemistry and fireworks.


We see things turn into other things all the time with the right combination of factors. Seeds, soil, and sunlight turn into trees; hydrogen and oxygen turn into water; broccoli turns into chocolate... Well, maybe that last one is just wishful thinking. But ASK Magazine dives into the science of how and when elements change, what they change into, and why. Alchemy is the historical crossroad between magic and science because alchemists often use science tricks to create magical effects from real ways of finding fake gold to creating a plethora of fairylike, colorful stars and lights in the sky (what we call fireworks).    


Enjoy features including:


  • Secrets of the Alchemists by Meg Moss
  • What Are You Made Of?
  • The Alchemist’s Apprentice by Liz Huyck
  • Sneaky Tricks of the Alchemists by Howie Cheatem
  • New Coins for Old
  • The Magic of Fireworks by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Regular features of ASK magazine include Nosy News, Nestor’s Dock, Bot’s Mighty Math, Ask Ask, Contest and Letters, and Marvin and Friends.