While many scientists tried to turn lead into gold, one of the most famous was Sir Isaac Newton. Other famous alchemists include Robert Boyle, Roger Bacon, Maria the Jewess and Zosimos.
Newton wrote a great deal on the subject of alchemy, though the Royal Society did not want to publish these writings after his death. Nonetheless, alchemy was important to scientific development, as the pursuit helped scientists make many other important discoveries.
Discoveries made because of alchemy include the creation of alloys and distillation methods. It also helped to develop the scientific method, as the process lent itself to repeated experimentation. Alchemists also theorized about atoms long before their existence was proven.