(January 27, 1627 – December 31, 1691)
Robert Boyle was among the first alchemists to transmute into modern chemists. His enthusiasm for research made him abandon Ireland for England, after realizing that the 17th century 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 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 waves, optics, acoustics, hydrostatics, magnetism, as well as on analyzing compounds and mixtures. Like René Descartes and Isaac Newton, he was a proponent of corpuscularianism. Although he appreciated biology and invested years studying anatomy and physiology, he experimented only on physiology due to his aversion for vivisections and other related dissections inherent in anatomy. His personal notes confirmed intermittent inquests into philosophy and theology. Dedicated to him are: the 57-kilometer-wide Boyle lunar crater and the 11967 Boyle planetoid.