Origins of Khemia…what’s in a name?
Posted on : August 29, 2016
Khemia Software (www.khemia.com) traces its roots back to 1995 and the development of its first LIMS, Omega, but where did the word Khemia come from? Please see Wikipedia and University of Bristol School of Chemistry.
Looking back to the Greeks around 800 BC suggests that the origins of Khemia likely came from the literary Egyptians 1,000 years prior. The etymology is not certain, however one theory is that Greek alchemists adopted the word from Egyptian terminology. Assuming an Egyptian origin, the ancient Egyptian word khēmia means the transmutation of earth, thereby the science of matter at the atomic to molecular scale. According to some etymologists, khēmia or “preparation of black powder” ultimately derived the name from Khem or Kēme, Egypt, the land of black earth. This quite possibly led to Persian word kimiya meaning gold. After Islam, Persian words converted to Arabic, thereby adding “al” to names, hence creating al-kimiya (alchemy in more modern, English spellings).
One possible timeline is as such:
Kēme 3000 BC Ancient Word for Egypt
Khemia By 300 AD Trasnmutation
Al-khemia Dark Ages Arabic for alchemia
Chymistry By 1661 Used in Boyle’s publication (now chemistry)
So, what’s in a name like Khemia? About 5000 years of use from ancient Egypt to modern chemistry!