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I agree totally with Glyn, having zoned out in much the same way.  However, I was tempted to read it just to find out how the mechanism works.  It should be possible to interleave at least the basics of the explanation in amongst the alchemist's actions, sometimes as asides, sometimes in answer to the student's occasional question.  Never more than a couple of lines at a time.  Just for an example he could produce the dog-eared notebook at some stage and the student  says -

'Oy that's mine.  I wondered where it went.' The alchemist was unperturbed and, adding something to the flask, said,' Ah, but now it contains the formula for the locator and we can thus  get him to access the precise memory he wishes to recall.'

And then, a little while later get him to explain the locator.  It would be a shame to lose all the technical stuff.