Robert Boyle

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Robert Boyle

Robert Boyle (1627–91)
Born 25 January 1627
Lismore, County Waterford, Ireland
Died 31 December 1691 (aged 64)
London, England
Fields Physics, chemistry
Known for Boyle's law, founder of modern chemistry
Influences Robert Carew, Galileo Galilei, Otto von Guericke, Francis Bacon
Influenced Considered the founder of modern chemistry
Notable awards Fellow of the Royal Society
Title page of The Sceptical Chymist (1661).

Robert Boyle FRS (25 January 1627 – 31 December 1691) was a 17th century natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, inventor and founding member of the Royal Society.

Boyle was born in Ireland to a titled Anglo-Irish family. He was the fourteenth child of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork, who had arrived in Ireland in 1588.

Career[change | change source]

Robert Boyle is best known for Boyle's law.[1][2]

When Robert Hooke was young, Boyle employed him as an instrument-maker and assistant. They continued to cooperate when Hooke took charge of experiments at the Royal Society.

Scientific research was the main focus of Boyle's life. He joined other like-minded men in a group which called itself the "Invisible College".[3] He was part of the group which founded the Royal Society in 1660.[4]

Boyle was an alchemist, but also the first modern chemist. His 1661 book, The Sceptical Chymist, is important in the history of chemistry.

Religious interests[change | change source]

As a director of the East India Company Boyle spent large sums in promoting the spread of Christianity in the East. He contributed liberally to missionary societies and to the expenses of translating the Bible or portions of it into various languages.

Boyle supported the policy that the Bible should be available in the language of the people, in contrast to the Latin-only policy of the Roman Catholic Church at the time.

References[change | change source]

  1. Boyle's Law describes the inverse relationship between the absolute pressure and volume of a gas.
  2. Acott, Chris (1999). "The diving "Law-ers": A brief resume of their lives.". South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society journal 29 (1). ISSN 0813-1988. OCLC 16986801. http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/5990. Retrieved 2009-04-17.
  3. Kassell, Lauren. "Invisible College (act. 1646-1647)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  4. "Robert Boyle’s astonishing scientific wishlist," The Royal Society: 350 Years of Science (exhibition). June 2010.

Further reading[change | change source]