Life While Growing up Robert Boyle was born on January 25, 1627, at Lismore Castle in Ireland. As the youngest son of Richard Boyle, the first Earl of Cork, Boyle was a member of the "Anglo-Irish" aristocracy which ruled the island (Badertscher, 2006). Robert grew up in a very noble and high-class life.
Educational Background Robert Boyle’s education began at home. He started his college career at the age of eight in England at Eton College. At the age of twelve, Boyle and his brother toured Europe for several years. His studied mainly theology and the humanities and also mathematics. In 1654, Boyle moved to the university city of Oxford and studied the works of scholars.
A group of "natural philosophers," or scholars interested in what is now known as natural science (Badertscher, 2006).
Boyle first came involved in the Invisible College when he moved to Stalbridge manor in Dorset, England in 1646. The group later became the Royal Society.
Royal Society The first twelve members included Boyle, John Wilkins, Christopher Wren, Sir Robert Moray, and William Viscount Brouncker (Badertscher, 2006). Boyle’s work became know around the world thanks to the Royal Society. It also helped that Boyle had his works translated into Latin, the international language of scholarship (Badertscher, 2006).
Impact on Our Lives Robert Boyle often reported his finding in books.
Boyle questioned the alchemical basis of the chemical theory of his day (RM, p. 2003).
He taught that the purpose of chemistry was to determine the compositions of substances in order to discover the makeup of the world (RM, p. 2003).
Facts He introduced certain plant extracts, notably litmus, for the indication of acids and bases (RM, p. 2003). He was also the first chemist to collect a sample of gas (RM, p. 2003). In 1667 Boyle was the first to study the phenomenon of bioluminescence, when he showed that fungi and bacteria require air (oxygen) for luminescence (RM, p. 2003). He is given credit for the invention of the first match in 1680.
Boyle's law -states that the pressure (p) of a given quantity of gas varies inversely as its volume (v) at constant temperature; i.e., in equation form, pv = k, a constant ( Boyle's law, 2010) . To support his research , Boyle, with the help of Robert Hooke, invented a vacuum chamber, or air pump. It was determined by measuring the volume occupied by a constant quantity of air when compressed by differing weights of mercury (Lawrence M., 2010).
Robert Boyle's Air Pump
New Experiments Physico-Mechanicall, Touching the Spring of Air and its Effects (1660) Boyle published his discovery that the weight of a body changes according to the buoyancy of the atmosphere. He also explained the experiment he did using his vacuum pump
The Sceptical Chymist (1661) Boyle said that matter is ultimately composed of “corpuscles” of various sorts and sizes, capable of arranging themselves into groups, and that each group constitutes a chemical substance (RM, p. 2003). He recognize the difference between mixtures and compounds and showing that a compound can have very different qualities than its components.
Historical Background of the Period Boyle became involved with the Invisible College during the English Civil War. The group kept a low profile during this time. After the restoration of the monarchy in England, the group formed the foundation of the Royal Society, which was organized in 1660 and given a royal charter in 1662. King Charles II supported the new society, giving it a royal charter in 1662 and again in 1663 (Badertscher, 2006). After the restoration in 1660, while in Oxford, Boyle published more of his written work.
References Badertscher, E. (2006). Robert Boyle. Robert Boyle, 1-2. Retrieved from History Reference Center database. RM, p. (2003). Robert Boyle (1627-1691). Hutchinson's Biography Database, 1. Retrieved from History Reference Center database. Boyle, Robert. [Photograph]. Retrieved April 9, 2010, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition: http://school.eb.com/eb/art-15457 Boyle's law. ( 2010). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved April 9, 2010, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition: http://school.eb.com/eb/article-9016072 The Sceptical Chymist [Photograph]. Retrieved April 10, 2010, from: http://oldsite.library.upenn.edu/etext/collections/science/boyle/chymist/ Lawrence M., P. (2010). Boyle, Robert. Britannica Biographies, 1. Retrieved from History Reference Center database. Robert Boyle's Air Pump [Photograph]. Retrieved April 10, 2010, from: http://www.uoregon.edu/~dluebke/WesternCiv102/AirPump.jpg New Experiments Physico-Mechanicall, Touching the Spring of Air and its Effects [Photograph]. Retrieved April 11, 2010, from: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/library/adopt-a-book/boyle.htm