Robert Boyle

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Robert Boyle

England 1627 – 1691


Comments: Scientist of the early Royal Society; Freemason; Alchemy; discovered Boyle's law, which describes the inversely proportional relationship between the absolute pressure and volume of a gas, if the temperature is kept constant within a closed system; Chevalier;


Teachers: Robert Carew, tutor; Galileo Galilei; inspired by Francis Bacon; Antoinette Bourignon; Robert Hooke, whom he employed; Thomas Hobbes; William Gilbert, author of De Magnete, 1600; William Harvey, discoverer of blood circulation in Du Motu Cordis aka On the Motion of the Heart; Athanasius Kircher; Evangelista Torricelli, who created 1st vacuum in 1644, and created a barometer; Otto von Guericke of Magdeburg, 1st air pump; Daniel Sennert; Peter Sthael of Strasburg, was chemistry teacher; Dr. Johann Isaac Hollandus, whose experiments he repeated;


Students: Michael Cyril William Hunter; William Wotton; Marie Boas Hall ; Edward Bradford Davis ; Peter R Anstey; Robert E W Maddison; Charles Oliver Thompson; Horace Noel; Louis Trenchard More; Roger Pilkington; John F Fulton; Rose-Mary Sargent; Jan W Wojcik; Harry Sootin; Gustav Schrotter; James R Jacob; Lawrence Principe, who grew the Tree of Gold in a test tube; J G Crowther; Robert Sharrock; Matthew Morgan; Thomas Birch; Antonio Clericuzio; William Thomas ; Kate Pavitt ; Lawrence M. Principe, author of The Aspiring Adept: Robert Boyle and his Alchemical Quest, 1998 & "Robert Boyle's Alchemical Secrecy. Codes, Ciphers and Concealments; M. T. Walton, author of "Boyle and Newton on the Transmutation of Water and Air"; William R. Newman; Lawrence M. Principe; Chris Bennett, author of Liber 420, 2018;


Friends: Christopher Wren; Rev. John Wilkins; Henry Oldenburg; Sir Robert Moray; Sir Isaac Newton ; Sir Paul Rycaut ; Benjamin Worsley;

Enemies: Francis Lin, Jesuit; Bishop Gilbert Burnet; Georges Pierre des Clozets of The Asterism aka The Cabalistic Society of the Sons of Wisdom, 1677; his "Secret Chief" Georges du Mesnillet, the Patriarch of Antioch;


Organizations: The Royal Society AKA Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge; The "Invisible College" of Gresham College and Oxford; a director of the East India Company ;

Author: The sceptical chymist, or, Chymico-physical doubts & paradoxes : touching the experiments whereby vulgar spagirists are wont to endeavour to evince their salt, sulphur and mercury, to be the true principles of things : to which in this edition are subjoyn'd divers experiments and notes about the producibleness of chymical principles ; A continuation of new experiments physico-mechanical, touching the spring and weight of the air and their effects - The I. part whereto is annext a short discourse of the atmospheres of consistent bodies, 1660; Some motives and incentives to the love of God pathetically discours'd of in a letter to a friend; An essay of the great effects of even languid... ; An essay of the great effects of even languid and unheeded motion : whereunto is annexed, An experimental discourse of some little observed causes of the insalubrity and salubrity of the air and its effects ; Essays of the strange subtilty, great efficacy, determinate nature of effluviums : to which are annext New experiments to make fire and flame ponderable, together with A discovery of the perviousness of glass; Memoirs for the natural history of humane blood : especially the spirit of that liquor; Experiments, notes, &c. about the mechanical origine... ; Experiments, notes, &c. about the mechanical origine or production of divers particular qualities : among which is inferred a discourse of the imperfection of the chymist's doctrine of qualities : together with some reflections upon the hypothesis of alcali and acidum ; Tracts; Experiments and considerations touching colours : first occasionally written, among some other essays to a friend, and now suffer'd to come abroad as the beginning of an experimental history of colours; A disquisition about the final causes of natural things : wherein it is inquir'd, whether, and (if at all) with what cautions a naturalist should admit them? ; Tracts consisting of observations about the saltness of the sea : an account of a statical hygroscope and its uses : together with an appendix about the force of the air's moisture : a fragment about the natural and preternatural state of bodies; The aerial noctiluca, or, Some new phœnomena, and a process of a factitious self-shining substance : imparted in a letter to a friend living in the country; The Method of learning to draw in perspective... ; The Method of learning to draw in perspective made easy and fully explained. : As also, the art of painting upon glass, and drawing in crayons, with receipts for making them after the French and Italian manner. Likewise. A new and curious method of Japaning, either upon glass, wood, or any metal, so as to imitate China; and to make black or gilt Japan-ware, as beautiful and light as any brought from the East-Indies; with proper directions for making the hardest and most transparent varnishes. And particularly the way to cast Amber in any shape. Chiefly from the Mss. of the Great Mr. Boyle.  ; Essay about the origine & virtues of gems : wherein are propos'd and historically illustrated some conjectures about the consistence of the matter of precious stones, and the subjects wherein their chiefest virtues reside; Experiments and notes about the mechanical origine or production of electricity ; Tracts : containing I. suspicions about some hidden qualities of the air : with an appendix touching celestial magnets and some other particulars - II. animadversions upon Mr. Hobbes's Problemata de vacuo - III. a discourse of the cause of attraction by suction; Short memoirs for the natural experimental history of mineral waters : addressed by way of letter to a friend; Certain physiological essays : written at distant times, and on several occasions; Experimenta & observationes physicæ : wherein are briefly treated of several subjects relating to natural philosophy in an experimental way : to which is added, a small collection of strange reports; Experiments and considerations about the porosity of bodies : in two essays ; General heads for the natural history of a country great or small : drawn out for the use of travellers and navigators; Hydrostatical paradoxes : made out by new experiments, for the most physical and easie; Of the reconcileableness of specifick medicines to the corpuscular philosophy : to which is annexed a discourse about the advantages of the use of simple medicines; Metaphor in Hopkins ; Metaphor in Hopkins ; A defence of the doctrine touching the spring and weight of the air; A continuation of new experiments physico-mechanical, touching the spring and weight of the air, and their effects : wherein are contained divers experiments made both in compressed and also in factitious air, about fire, animals, &c. : together with a description of the engines wherein they were made; The martyrdom of Theodora and of Didymus; New experiments, and observations, made upon the icy noctiluca : imparted in a letter to a friend living in the country : to which is annexed A chymical paradox; Some considerations touching the style of the H. Scriptures : extracted from several parts of a discourse concerning divers particulars belonging to the Bible; A discourse concerning the unchangeable obligations of natural religion : and the truth and certainty of the Christian revelation. Being eight sermons preach'd at the cathedral-church of St Paul, in the year 1705, at the lecture founded by the honourable Robert Boyle Esq - By Samuel Clark, M.A. chaplain to the right Reverend Father in God John, Lord Bishop of Norwich; Reasons why a Protestant should not turn papist, or, Protestant prejudices against the Roman Catholic religion - propos'd in a letter to a Romish priest ; The origine of formes and qualities : (according to the corpuscular philosophy) illustrated by considerations and experiments - (Written formerly by way of notes upon an essay about nitre); Of the high veneration man's intellect owes to God, peculiarly for his wisedom and power ; Occasional reflections upon several subiects, whereto is premis'd a discourse about such kind of thoughts; Salt-water sweetned, or, A true account of the great advantages of this new invention both by sea and by land - together with a full and satisfactory answer to all apparent difficulties : also the approbation of the Colledge of Physicians : likewise a letter of the Honourable Robert Boyle to a friend upon the same subject with R. Fitzgerald; Experimental notes of the mechanical origine or production of fixtness; Matter and motion cannot think, or, A confutation... ; Matter and motion cannot think, or, A confutation of atheism from the faculties of the soul - a sermon preached at St. Mary-le-Bow, April 4, 1692; An examen of Mr. T. Hobbs, his Dialogus physicus de naturâ aëris - as far as it concerns Mr. R. Boyle's book of New experiments touching the spring of the air, &c. - with an appendix touching Mr. Hobbs's Doctrine of fluidity and firmness; "Dialogue on the Transmutation of Metals"; An Historical Account of a Degradation of Gold by an Anti-Elixir ;



Resources: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/22914; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Boyle; Smithsonian Magazine Feb 2014 pgs.13-14;