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Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle 0001.jpg
Robert Boyle (1627–91)
Born 25 January 1627
Died 31 December 1691 (aged 64)
Known for Boyle's law, founder of modern chemistry
Awards Fellow of the Royal Society
Scientific career
Fields Physics, chemistry
Influences Robert Carew, Galileo Galilei, Otto von Guericke, Francis Bacon
Influenced Considered the founder of modern chemistry
The Sceptical Chymist
Title page of The Sceptical Chymist (1661).
Royal Society of Chemistry - Robert Boyle Prize for Analytical Science - 2014 - Andy Mabbett - 01
The Robert Boyle Prize for Analytical Science medal

Robert Boyle FRS (25 January 1627 – 31 December 1691) was a 17th-century natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, inventor and founding member of the Royal Society.

Boyle was born in Ireland to a titled Anglo-Irish family. He was the fourteenth child of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork, who had arrived in Ireland in 1588.


Robert Boyle is best known for Boyle's law.

When Robert Hooke was young, Boyle employed him as an instrument-maker and assistant. They continued to cooperate when Hooke took charge of experiments at the Royal Society.

Scientific research was the main focus of Boyle's life. He joined other like-minded men in a group which called itself the "Invisible College". He was part of the group which founded the Royal Society in 1660.

Boyle was an alchemist, but also the first modern chemist. His 1661 book, The Sceptical Chymist, is important in the history of chemistry.

Religious interests

As a director of the East India Company Boyle spent large sums in promoting the spread of Christianity in the East. He contributed liberally to missionary societies and to the expenses of translating the Bible or portions of it into various languages.

Boyle supported the policy that the Bible should be available in the language of the people, in contrast to the Latin-only policy of the Roman Catholic Church at the time.

  • Hunter, Michael. (2000). Robert Boyle, 1627-91: scrupulosity and science. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer. ISBN: 9780851157986; OCLC 185478148
  • __________. 2009. Boyle: between God and science. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN: 9780300123814; OCLC 698916661

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