Lawrence M. Principe is the Drew Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University in the Department of History of Science and Technology and the Department of Chemistry. He earned undergraduate degrees at the Unviersity of Delaware (B.A. Liberal Studies, 1983; B.S. Chemistry, 1983) and did his graduate work at Indiana University (Ph.D. Organic Chemistry, 1988) and at Johns Hopkins (Ph.D. History of Science, 1996). He is the first recipient of the Francis Bacon Medal for significant contributions to the history of science.

Prof. Principe’s research focusses on the late Medieval and early modern periods, with special attention to the history of alchemy/chemistry. He is currently working on a study of chemistry at the French Royal Academy of Sciences, 1666-1730. He is the author of The Aspiring Adept: Robert Boyle and His Alchemical Quest (Princeton, 1998) and co-author (with William R. Newman) of Alchemy Tried in the Fire: Starkey, Boyle, and the Fate of Helmontian Chymistry, winner of the 2005 Pfizer Prize.

Prof. Principe is also active in studying the historical interactions of science and religion. He regularly teaches classes on this subject, and was the recipient of awards from the Templeton Foundation for these courses. He has also produced a twelve-lecture DVD course entitled “Science and Religion” (The Teaching Company, 2006), and is currently planning a major museum exhibition using alchemical art and artifacts to display and explore the close interdependence of science and religion in the 17th century. Prof. Principe is especially interested in how theological interests drove scientific exploration and innovation, and how such interests were manifested in scientific systems.


  • The Aspiring Adept: Robert Boyle and His Alchemical Quest. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998).
  • The Correspondence of Robert Boyle. Eds. Michael Hunter, Lawrence M. Principe, and Antonio Clericuzio, 6 vols. (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2001).
  • Transmutations: Alchemy in Art. With Lloyd DeWitt. (Philadelphia: Chemical Heritage Foundation, 2002).
  • Alchemy Tried in the Fire: Starkey, Boyle,  and the Fate of Helmontian Chymistry. With William R. Newman. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,  2002).
  • Chymists and Chymistry: Studies in the History of Alchemy and Early Modern Chemistry, ed. (Sagamore Beach, MA: Science History Publications, 2007).
  • History of Science: Antiquity to 1700, (a video course in thirty-six 30-minute lectures; produced by The Teaching Company, Chantilly, VA, 2003).
  • Science and Religion, (a video course in twelve 30-minute lectures; produced by The Teaching Company, Chantilly, VA 2006).
  • “Reflections on Newton’s Alchemy in Light of the New Historiography of Alchemy.” Pp. 205-19 in Newton and Newtonianism: New Studies, eds. James E. Force and Sarah Hutton, (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2004).

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