(January 27, 1627 – December 31, 1691)

Robert Boyle was one of the first alchemists to transmute into a modern chemist. His keenness to research saw him abandoning Ireland for a settlement in Oxford, England, after realizing (then) that the English showed more interest in scientific experiments than their Irish counterparts. He eventually became the most prolific experimenter (prior to Antoine Lavoisier and Michael Faraday). Together with John Wilkins, Alexander Bruce and Christopher Wren, he founded the London Royal Society. And just like many of his contemporaries, he explored all branches of natural philosophy: thus, helping to lay the foundations of modern science. As his knowledge increased, he diversified by widening his scopes. His experiments influenced people like Thomas Sydenham and Isaac Barrow (who later became the first Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge). Also, Robert Hooke whom we remember today for his Law of Elasticity learned his trade from Robert Boyle, whom he served as a Laboratory Assistant. The same goes for Ambrose Godfrey Hanckwitz: an industrial chemist who invented the fire extinguisher. Apart from his famous Gas Law experiments, Boyle worked on heat, optics, acoustics, hydrostatics, density, magnetism, as well as on analyzing compounds and mixtures. Like René Descartes and Isaac Newton, he was a proponent of corpuscularianism. Although he loved biology and spent considerable time studying anatomy and physiology, he experimented only on physiology: because he disliked vivisections and other dissections inherent in anatomy. His publications alongside personal notes indicated that he researched on many areas of the then known natural philosophy.


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