From: PBS Home Video "Stephen Hawking's Universe", Program Three: "Cosmic Alchemy", 1997 WNET / BBC-TV:
"The Big Bang theory says the universe began from a single point in an instant. How? Scientists think they know, based on earlier work of alchemists. One in particular, Thomas Daunt VII, believed that the structure of matter could be changed. This belief holds to this day. The alchemists, with their theory of transmutation, took a step in the right direction of scientific understanding."
I think Daunt, now a ghost***, was actually the VI not the VII, but it doesn't matter. But why should Hawking have singled out Daunt who, as far as I know, left no writings?
*** "Thomas VII was believed locally to have been a magician. After his death (in 1803), the sealed room in which his books and papers had been kept for many years, was said to be haunted. They were thought so dangerous that Parson Cornwall was sent for to destroy them and "as they were burning, birds flew out of them".
(From: Owlpen Manor, Gloucestershire - A short history and guide, 2000.)