Boyle, Robert, 1627-1691

Alternative names
Birth 1627-01-25
Death 1691-12-31
Irish (Republic of Ireland)

Biographical notes:

Boyle, British natural philosopher, chemist. Eton College, circa 1635-1638, traveled on continent and studied with private tutors, 1638-1644. He was greatly influenced by his readings of Bacon and Descartes. Became active participant and member "Invisible College, London, 1644 (predecessor of the Royal Society, 1662); established a laboratory, Oxford 1654; Director, East India Company; financed much missionary work including the printing of Bibles for the various British colonies; moved to London, 1668, remained there until his death. Wrote and published numerous scientific, as well as moral and religious treatises. Boyle's crucial significance for a range of facets of natural philosophy was recognized in his lifetime. Through his many writings and experiments, Boyle's work influenced the development of scientific method, influencing not only his student Isaac Newton, but establishing methods that later came to be accepted in many branches of physics and chemistry. Research areas: Best known for his discovery of Boyle's law; defined term, element, and showed that current methods of analysis did not conclusively prove the existence of the Aristotelian four elements or the Paracelsian three principles; distinguished clearly between mixtures and compounds; believed in corpuscular theory of matter; designed vacuum pump, experimented in pneumatics; investigated specific gravities, refractive powers, crystals, colors, electricit

y, capillary action and combustibility of hydrogen; invented compressed-air pump; made use of an evacuated cylinder to demonstrate Galileo's assertion that in a vacuum all bodies fall at same velocity; studied chemistry of combustion and respiration.

From the description of Letters and Papers of Robert Boyle, 1908-1965. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 82942196


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  • Bible--Translating--17th century
  • Science--History--17th century
  • Bible. Irish--Versions
  • Chemistry
  • Christianity--Missions--17th century
  • Atheism
  • Bible and atheism
  • Alchemists--Correspondence
  • Hydrostatics (Experimental)--Research
  • Theology
  • Physics


  • Chemists


  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • North America (as recorded)