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Boyle, Robert, 1627-1691

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Irish scientist who helped to dissociate chemistry from alchemy. He established that air has weight and studied the behaviour of gases; author of The Sceptical Chymist (1661).

Summary Article: Boyle, Robert (1627-1691) from The Hutchinson Dictionary of Scientific Biography
Irish natural philosopher and one of the founders of modern chemistry. He is best remembered for the law named after him, which states that, at a constant temperature, the volume of a given mass of gas is inversely proportional to the pressure upon it. He was instrumental in the founding of the Royal Society and a pioneer in the use of experiment and the scientific method. Boyle was born on 25 January 1627 in Lismore Castle, County Waterford, the fourteenth child and seventh son of the Earl of Cork. He learned to speak French and Latin as a child and was sent to Eton College at the early age of eight. In 1641 he visited Italy, returning to England in 1644. He joined a group known as the Invisible College, whose aim was to cultivate the ‘new philosophy’ and which met at Gresham College, London, and in Oxford, where Boyle went to live in 1654. The Invisible College became, under a charter granted by Charles II in 1663, the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, an...    Continue Reading

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