Even the most amazing accomplishments of modern-day science will never be able to hold a candle to the impossible powers promised by alchemy. It never delivered, but old-school alchemists weren't discouraged by failure, and now a new-school alchemist is taking a look back to figure out what the hell they were doing that whole time.

Larry Principe of Johns Hopkins University isn't quite an alchemist, but as a science historian, he knows how to think like one. By digging through tons of old manuscripts, he's been able to piece together some of the failed experiments of old and bring them into the modern day. So far, no philosophers stone. So far.