Doctor Robert Black, who was born in 1925, has dedicated his adult life to the study of chemistry. During his long career as a research scientist he specialised in the study and practical application of radiation chemistry and dielectric phenomena. He is also the author or co-author of more than forty scientific and technical papers in this specialised field. He perceives chemistry as being the exploration of the properties of matter and his approach to it embraces the full spectrum of human endeavour in this field – including the work of the alchemists. His enthusiasm for alchemy and his awareness of its dual significance began to grow in the mid-1940s, following his study of Robert Boyle’s work on bioluminescence. It was also through Boyle that he was led to understand that alchemy has not only a material aspect as a proto-science, but also a profound spiritual dimension that paradoxically connects alchemy with the discipline of modern chemistry just as much as it separates the two.
Dr. Black is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and of the Society of Chemical Industry, and, in other fields, of the Society for Psychical Research and of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, of which he was for many years Recorder-General.