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Like Aristotle, he thought nature and men's lives were controlled by the stars and plants. Notably he taught Saint Thomas Acquinas and made several significant contributions to chemistry. Legend has it he turned based metal into gold, but there is no evidence of this in his notes on alchemy. Legend also has it that when a dinner guest of William II, the Count of Holland, on New Year's Day, 1242, Magnus suggested the guests dine outdoors. Wanting a piece of land for a monastery he graciously changed the freezing day into a warm spring afternoon with blooming flowers and singing birds. A.G.H.