Nano Stepanov, chemical engineer
Abstract. Geber (Latinized name of Jabir ibn Hayyan (c. 721 – c. 815)) is among the most notable representatives of medieval chemistry. The article, dedicated to the 1300th anniversary of his birth, tries to depict his work as the beginning and groundwork for Arabic alchemy, also serving as a push for the formation of chemistry in the future. The article touches upon his life, characteristics, evaluation of his works, doubts about his identity and authorship. His influences are examined and his achievements in the area of metallurgy (sulfur-mercury theory, characterizing all known metals), knowledge of `secret` (stimulating the transmutation of metals) substances, mineral acids, salts, chemical processes and apparatus, his contributions to practical chemistry prove the broadness of his interests. His rational and practical approach is acknowledged and also his “outer” spiritualism present in the terminology inherited by the authors of Alexandria. The legacy he leaves – his authority, influence on the development of chemistry and followers – Arabic medical alchemists. In the conclusion his services to science and civilization are summarized.
Keywords: history of chemistry; medieval chemistry; arabic alchemy