Alchemy Reborn

Victo Ngai

The Nautilus Quarterly (Winter 2013) I worked on has recently hit the shelves! The cover and interior spread are for the feature story by Mark Anderson, a lost conversation between physicist Sternglass and his mentor Einstein. The discussion concerned nuclear particles, in particular, the neutron. Being the agents of transmutation, neutron in principle could transform one element from the periodic tale to another. Thus producing precious metals from base metals - the wildest dream of medieval alchemists.

The cover focuses on this idea of science being the legacy of alchemy and the two are opposite sides of the same coin. AD Len Small and I wanted an iconic image, the graphic approach of this piece is a bit different from my usual stuff, but it’s always fun trying out new things! 

The interior spread is about how this “alchemy” theory hidden within the nuclear could be the answer to clean energy and sustainable future. “The result of transmutation would often be an unstable atom, fated to decay. In doing so, it would emit an energetic electron or photon. If this energetic particle could be captured, it might be transformed to heat - an usable energy.”

If you like science, philosophy and illustration, do yourself a favor and get your hands on Nautilus! Read more and subscribe at  

Big Thanks to AD Len or having me on board this cool project!

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