Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2014

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of arts (BA)


Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Michael Kucher

Second Advisor

Aaron Cheak


The subject of alchemy is often only relegated to a footnote of the history of modern chemistry. When framed as a discussion of the history of ideas and mankind attempting to understand their position in the universe, the language of alchemy is seen present in the writings of ancient Greece to 20th century counterculture. But how did this obscure art survive such a long journey over time and space? This paper explores alchemy as a meme (as defined by Richard Dawkins) that changed over time to fit the needs of its proponents. We find that the ideas in alchemy had established a relationship with astrology, Greek gods, Christianity, The scientific revolution, and cultural rebellion through a succession of historical thinkers.