Glow-in-the-dark: Alchemy at your service

Vincenzio Cascariolo, an Italian shoemaker from Bologna, like so many people of his time, dabbled in alchemy. Unfortunately for him, he was never able to figure out how to achieve the process of transmutation of lead into gold, or anything else of substantial value, for that matter. However,  in 1603 Cascariolo accidentally discovered a way to create  artificial glow-in-the-dark substances. He combined barium sulfate with powdered coal, heated it up and applied onto an iron bar — much as the glow-sticks that modern kids like to wave during fireworks.

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