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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Butlerov, Alexander Michailovich

(1828- 1886). Outstanding Russian chemist whose work confirmed the classical theory of chemical structure. Butlerov was interested in Spiritualism and wrote against the materialistic tendencies of the science of his time.

Alexander Michailovich Butlerov
    Alexander Michailovich
                Butlerov

Helena P. BLAVATSKY considered Butlerov the greatest chemist of his time. In one of her letters referring to the opinion of one of the Mahatmas about William Crookes, she wrote:

“Master says, there is no one higher than him [Crookes] in chemistry in England, nor elsewhere except Butlerof who is dead. But then Butlerof spoiled his brains by Spiritualism” (Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, p. 226).

In The Secret Doctrine, H. P. Blavatsky quoted extensively from Butlerov’s work in illustrating the infinite divisibility and elasticity of atoms, which if true reduces matter into centers of force. This was the subject that Albert Einstein drew particular attention to when he spoke of the significance of Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine. Butlerov wrote:

“See now what a curious contradiction this fundamental principle of the materialists is leading them into. The atom is indivisible, and at the same time we know it to be elastic. An attempt to deprive it of elasticity is unthinkable; it would amount to an absurdity. Absolutely non-elastic atoms could never exhibit a single one of those numerous phenomena that are attributed to their correlations. Without any elasticity, the atoms could not manifest their energy, and the substance of the materialists would remain weeded of every force. Therefore, if the Universe is composed of atoms, then those atoms must be elastic.” (SD I:519)

V.H.C.

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