Alchemy was among the earliest practices of a chemical science, and, in a way, it can be considered a predecessor to the modern science of chemistry. Alchemy is somewhat different than a modern science, though, in that it also has roots in mythology and spiritualism. Practitioners of alchemy were known as alchemists. Among the primary goals of alchemists were to find a method or material that could convert inexpensive metals into precious gold, as well as to find an elixir of life, which could make a person both youthful and immortal. Myths told of the existence of such materials and of the possibility of such feats; the goals of alchemists were based largely on these myths. In medieval times, alchemists could be found in many countries around the world, and those in different regions held somewhat different beliefs. In the western world, people were still considering how to make metals into gold as recently as the late 1700s.