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Alchemy is both a philosophy and a practice with an aim of achieving ultimate wisdom as well as immortality, involving the improvement of the alchemist as well as the making of several substances described as possessing unusual properties. The practical aspect of alchemy generated the basics of modern inorganic chemistry, namely concerning procedures, equipment and the identification and use of many current substances. The fundamental ideas of alchemy are said to have arisen in the ancient Persian Empire. Alchemy has been practiced in Mesopotamia (comprising much of today's Iraq), Egypt, Persia (today's Iran), India, China, Japan, Korea and in Classical Greece and Rome, in the Muslim civilizations, and then in Europe up to the 20th century, in a complex network of schools and philosophical systems spanning at least 2500 years. Alchemy, generally, derives from the Old French alkemie; from the Arabic al-kimia: "the art of transformation." Some scholars believe the Arabs borrowed the word chimia from Greek for transmutation.