Robert Boyle

"Father of Chemistry"


The richest man in Great Britain was his father. However his father was imprisoned for embezzlement. Also, because of his mother's beliefs he was sent off at a young age to begin his education, and didn't return until after his mother had died. He then went to college with one of his brothers. Boyle was popular with his headmaster and peers. But when a new headmaster was appointed they were at odds. Then he was tutored privately. Galileo died near Florence, while Boyle lived there. He was influenced by this event and Galileo's works. It was the one thing that shaped Boyle's life and influenced him towards science the most. Boyle became a supporter of his philosophy and believed in the approach of studying the world through math and mechanics. The civil war turned out to be advantageous for Boyle. He ended up very rich, and could devote himself entirely to science without needing to earn money. He was a very generous man, and those around him benefited from this. He made many important contributions to physics and chemistry but he is know best for Boyle's law. His work in chemistry was aimed at making it mathematical science, he was argued that all science should be developed based on mathematics. Although others before him did this with physics, Boyle extended it to chemistry. Religion was very important to him, but there was no conflict with religion and a mechanistic world.

Boyle's Greatest Accomplished

Boyle is one of the Fathers of Chemistry. He is most known for Boyle's law which states that the pressure exerted by gas kept at a constant temperature varies inversely with the volume of the gas. However it is believed his "crowning achievement" was The Sceptical Chymist. It was published in 1661. In it he argues against Aristotle's view of the four elements and instead favored that matter consists of atoms. He also said the primary particles move freely in liquids, but not in solids. And he contemplated the idea that the world could be described as a system of a system of simple mathematical laws. He made countless other achievements in both chemistry and physics.

Boyle's Impact on the World

Boyle started a research group, which developed a key piece of apparatus.  Hooke, Robert's assistant helped him create the air pump.  He showed that sound did not travel in a vacuum, and  that a flame and life itself required air. He also he investigated the elastic properties of air. He argued against Aristotle's view fo the four elements, saying that matter was composed of corpuseles which were built up of different configurations of primary particles. Basically he believed that the world is a complex system governed by a small number of mathematical laws.
Robert Boyle - Man of Science, Man of Faith

Fun Facts

Robert Boyle was an Anglo-Irish natural philosopherHe was of the early pioneers of modern experimental scientific methodBoyle’s contributions ranged over many subjects, including chemistry, physics, medicine, hydrostatics, natural history and earth sciencesHe was born into luxuryHe invented the air pump