12 September 2015

'The fixing of the universal light into luminous bodies'

Dining at Mr. Pepys's, Dr. Slayer showed us an experiment of a wonderful nature, pouring first a very cold liquor into a glass, and superfusing on it another, to appearance cold and clear liquor also; it first produced a white cloud, then boiling, divers coruscations and actual flames of fire mingled with the liquor, which being a little shaken together, fixed divers suns and stars of real fire, perfectly globular, on the sides of the glass, and which there stuck like so many constellations, burning most vehemently, and resembling stars and heavenly bodies, and that for a long space. It seemed to exhibit a theory of the eduction of light out of the chaos, and the fixing or gathering of the universal light into luminous bodies. This matter, or phosphorus, was made out of human blood and urine, elucidating the vital flame, or heat in animal bodies. A very noble experiment!
Diary of John Evelyn, December 13, 1685

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