Early Science and Medicine 23 (5-6):550-583 (2018)

In seventeenth-century England agriculturalists, projectors and natural philosophers devoted special attention to the chemical investigation of plants, of soil composition and of fertilizers. Hugh Plat’s and Francis Bacon’s works became particularly influential in the mid-seventeenth century, and inspired much of the Hartlib Circle’s schemes and research for improving agriculture. The Hartlibians turned to chemistry in order to provide techniques for improving soil and to investigate plant generation and growth. They drew upon the Paracelsian chemistry of salts, as well as upon the works of van Helmont and Glauber. Benjamin Worsley, Boyle’s scientific companion in the 1640s and 1650s, played a leading role in the Hartlib Circle’s research on saltpetre and on fertilizers. The Hartlib Circle’s research in agricultural chemistry shaped much of the research carried out by the Royal Society in the 1660s and in the 1670s. Daniel Coxe, who adopted Boyle’s chemical theories and pursued original experimental research on the composition of plants, played a central part in the early Royal Society’s agricultural projects and notably in the investigations of plants.
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DOI 10.1163/15733823-02356p08
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Experimenting with Matter in the Works of Gabriel Plattes.Oana Matei - 2020 - Perspectives on Science 28 (3):398-420.
The Mechanical Life of Plants: Descartes on Botany.Fabrizio Baldassarri - 2019 - British Journal for the History of Science 52 (1):41-63.

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