We explain who Robert Boyle was, his contributions to chemistry and theological studies. Also, what are his characteristics and studies.

Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle is considered the first modern chemist.

Who was Robert Boyle?

Robert Boyle was an Irish philosopher, chemist, physicist and inventoralso dedicated to Christian theology, and particularly known for the formulation of the law that bears his name: Boyle’s Law (or Boyle-Mariotte), which links the volume and pressure of a gas subjected to a constant temperature.

Robert Boyle He is considered the first modern chemist, one of the founders of this discipline. In this sense, he is one of those responsible for the knowledge long considered (with suspicion) as alchemical or magical, becoming understandable in scientific terms.

See also: Antoine Lavoisier

Birth of Robert Boyle

Robert Boyle - Lismore Castle
Boyle was born at Lismore Castle, on the banks of the River Blackwater.

Robert Boyle born in Waterford, Ireland, in 1627. He was the fourteenth child of an English nobleman named Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork, and his mother was Catherine Fenton, the second wife of his father.

boyle he was born in lismore castle, on the banks of the Blackwater River, in the bosom of a wealthy family. He received an education commensurate with his talents: at an early age he learned Latin, Greek and French, and at just eight years old he entered Eton College.

Biography of Robert Boyle

Boyle’s sheltered youth allowed him to receive an elite education, with French tutors and stays in Genoa and Florence, where he studied the work of Galileo Galilei. After the death of his father, he inherited various properties.

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Thanks to his fortune, Boyle was able to dedicate himself to science. He became part of the “Invisible College”, precursor of the British Royal Society, in which numerous thinkers met at Gresham College in London, or in Oxford.

From 1663, this group became the Royal Society or Royal Society of London for the Advancement of Natural Science, of which he was elected president in 1680, an honor he preferred to decline. During this period many of his most important studies, inventions and studies emerged.

Beginning in 1689, weakened by age and increasing paralysis, he preferred to seclude himself and flee from public contactto dedicate himself to theological study until the day of his death.

Robert Boyle’s contributions to chemistry

Robert Boyle
It can be said that Boyle was a modern alchemist.

To keep your hypotheses free from suggestion, He said not to follow teachers and to avoid the study of the atomic model of the time and the Cartesian system. However, Boyle’s great contribution to chemistry stems from his experimental verification of the principles of Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum Scientiarum (1620).

It can be said that Boyle he was a modern alchemist. Convinced that he could transmute metals, an old dream of antiquity, he carried out experiments trying to obtain gold, just like the Arab alchemists.

Nevertheless, moved towards a much more modern view of the elementsas well as chemical and physical processes. He understood the difference between mixtures and compounds, and he defended the study of chemistry as an end in itself, instead of a practice of techniques later applicable to other fields of knowledge.

His studies focused on the nature of gases, of which he analyzed combustion and respiration. He discovered the role of oxygen in both cases despite the fact that, as he wrote, his sensitive nature prevented him from making vivisections to appreciate how oxygen entered the body.

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Boyle’s Law

Boyle's Law
The volume of a gas varies inversely proportional to the pressure at constant temperature.

One of Boyle’s great contributions is not to chemistry, but to physics: Boyle’s Law. This law was formulated by both Boyle and the French botanist Edme Mariotte independently in 1662 and 1676 respectively.

It is one of the laws that determine the behavior of gases. It states that if the temperature is held constant, the volume and pressure of a certain amount of gas are inversely proportional.

Or what is the same: if the volume of the gas increases, the pressure decreases; if the pressure increases, the volume decreases (this is if the temperature is always the same). Mathematically, this principle is expressed as follows:

Robert Boyle

Being P Y V the pressure and volume of the gas, while what is a constant.

The above relationship can also be represented as:
Robert Boyle

Where P1 Y V1 are the pressure and the initial volume of the gas. While Ptwo Y Vtwo are the final pressure and volume.

Robert Boyle’s Theological Studies

Robert Boyle
Boyle defended the Christian religion while condemning atheism.

Apart from his scientific interests, towards the end of his life Boyle became interested in theology and Christian affairs. His approach to the matter avoided controversy and showed a certain pragmatism. He was sure that since he was a secular scholar, his deductions would carry much more weight than those of a member of some religious order.

His conferences remain from these interests, in which defended the Christian religion, while condemning atheism and the infidels. In addition, he also left some funds available to be read annually.

Works by Robert Boyle

Boyle wrote numerous scientific works, among which are:

  • New physical-mechanical experiments on the elasticity of air and its effects (1660)
  • the skeptical chemist (1661)
  • The hydrostatic paradox (1666)
  • Origin and virtues of gems (1672)
  • New experiments and observations on the Noctiluca Icy (1682)

Also noteworthy, among his theological works:

  • A refutation of atheism (1692)
  • The virtuous Christian (1690)
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Other contributions of Robert Boyle

Robert Boyle - Bible
Boyle translated the Bible into different languages.

boyle was a founding member of the Royal Society, a scientific organization that later had great importance. In addition, he directed the East India Company, in which he invested huge sums of money to promote the gospel in the world. He translated the Bible into different languages ​​and especially contributed to religious missions abroad.

Death of Robert Boyle

Robert Boyle died in London on December 31, 1691, in the house she had shared with her sister for twenty years (who passed away a week earlier). The cause of his death was paralysis. His remains were buried in the churchyard of St Martin-in-the-Fields, with a funeral oration by his friend, Bishop Gilbert Burnet.

Acknowledgments to Robert Boyle

robert boyle acknowledgments
Boyle’s name is present on awards, asteroids and even a lunar crater.
  • He was a founder member of the Royal Society, and was elected as its president in 1680.
  • His name was given to the prize for analytical sciences awarded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, to a lunar crater and to an asteroid in the solar system (11967).
  • The Boyle-Mariotte law honors him along with Edme Mariotte, both independently discoverers of the same thing.

Robert Boyle Quotes

  • “He who said that it was not good for man to be alone put celibacy among the inferior states of perfection.”
  • “One can never sufficiently prepare for death.”
  • “If the omniscient author of nature knew that the study of his works tends to make men disbelieve in their being or attributes, he would not have given them so many invitations to study and contemplate nature.”

Continue with: René Descartes


  • “Robert Boyle” on Wikipedia.
  • “Robert Boyle” in Online Teacher.
  • “Robert Boyle: the chemist who put an end to the superstition of alchemy” on ABC Ciencia.
  • “Robert Boyle” in Biographies and Lives.
  • “Robert Boyle (1627-1691)” on BBC.
  • “Robert Boyle” in The Encyclopaedia Britannica.

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