Alchemy is not science.
Alchemy is not chemistry.
Alchemy is not pharmacology.
Alchemy is not medicine.
Alchemy is magic, pure and simple, though it's easy to see how you might be fooled. The twin disciplines of science and alchemy have their own laws, their own traditions, their own specialized languages. Both science and alchemy seek mastery of the physical world through pursuit of knowledge. But alchemy only functions in a world permeated with magic, where sheer willpower can override reality and make superstition into a viable discipline.
Alchemy binds the catalytic essence of the Elemental Plane of Fire and bottles it into a cheap brown-glass jar to make Alchemist's Fire. Alchemy traps the North Winds in a wineskin and releases it as a weapon of elemental ice. Alchemy creates the Tanglefoot Bags (brewed from tar and brown recluse webs and stolen shadows) and Thunderstones (captured lightning imps) that every adventurer carries into the dungeon. Alchemy can also do much, much more.....
The most skilled alchemists in the multiverse have discovered a new discipline, an outgrowth of their semi-magical profession they call true science. Scientific discoveries spur new magical discoveries, and within the last few centuries a new kind of sorcerer, a vanguard of a new era has emerged: the Mad Science sorcerer.
The concepts in this sourcebook explore the new possibilities of alchemy and science. New gear, new feats, a new sorcerer blood line and two new player races are all products of the strangest sciences imaginable.