Robert Boyle

Here we listed out important facts about famous scientist Robert Boyle, with his Biography, Profile, Facts, Timeline, Awards, Achievement, etc.,

Born: 25 January 1627, Lismore, County Waterford, Republic of Ireland
Died: 31 December 1691, London, United Kingdom
Known for: Boyle’s law
Siblings: Katherine Jones, Viscountess Ranelagh, more
Nationality: English, Irish
Fields: Physics, chemistry
Awards: FRS (1663)


  • Robert Boyle was born on 25 Jan., 1627 in Lismore, Country Waterfored, Ireland.
  • Robert Boyle was born into a Protestant family. His father was Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork, who had left England in 1588 at the age f 22 and gone to Ireland.
  • Robert was the seventh son of his parents fifteen children
  • He was in his 60’s and Catherine Boyle in his 40’s when Robert was born.
  • Robert was fortunate to have the richest man in Great Britain for a father although, one would have to say, the Earl of Cork had acquired his fortune by somewhat dubious means.
  • He was imprisoned in England on charges of embezzlement at one stage and later was fined heavily for possessing defective titles to some of his estates.
  • The Earl of Cork and his wife believed that the best upbringing for young children, up to the time they began their education, could be provided away from their parents.
  • Robert was sent, together with one of his, brothers, to study at Eton College in England in 1635.
  • Boyle paid tribute to Harrison in where he writes that Harrison gave him a strong passion to acquire knowledge.
  • At this stage of his time at Eton, Boyle’s education was clearly going well. He was popular with both his headmaster and his fellow pupils.  However, perhaps he had been given too much special attention by Harrison for, when Harrison retired, Boyle seemed unable to fit in with the educational discipline the new headmaster brought to the school.  Realising that neither of his sons were progressing  well at school under the new headmaster, the Earl of Cork took his sons away from the Eton in November, 1638.
  • Galileo died in his villa in Arcetri, near Florence, while Boyle was living in the city. He was much influenced by this event and he carefully studied Galilio’s works.  If any one event shaped Boyle’s life and directed him towards science, then it was this.
  • Boyle became a strong supporter of Galileo’s philosophy and belived strongly from this time in the new approach to studying the world through mathematics and mechanics.
  • Boyle lived for a while with his sister Katherine. She was thirteen years older than him and was a lady of some importance, married to Viscount Ranelagh.
  • It was discussions In the Invisible College which led to Boyle reading Oughtred’s Clavis Mathematica as well as the works of Mersenne and Gassendi.
  • Boyle had from the time of his visit to Italy favoured the ideas of Copernicus and he now held these views deeply, together with a deep belief in the atomic theory of matter.
  • Boyle was a very generous man with his money, and many around him benefited from this generously.
  • Boyle met John Wilkins, the leader of the Invisible College, in London when he visited there in 1653. At this time Wilkins had  just been appointed as Warden of Wadham College in Oxford and he was planning to run the Invisible  College from there.
  • He strongly encouraged Boyle to join them in Oxford and invited him to live in the College. Boyle decided to go to Oxford but preferred not to accept Wilkin’s offer of accommodation, choosing  instead to arrange his own rooms where he could instead to arrange his own rooms where he could carry out his scientific experiments.
  • At Oxford he joined a group of forward looking scientists, including John Wilkins, John Wallis who was the Savilian Professor of Astronomy, and Christopher Wren who would succed Ward as Savilian Professor of Astronomy in 1661.
  • He made important contributions to physics and chemistry and is best known for Boyle’s law describing an ideal gas.
  • Boyle’s law appears in an appendix written in 1662 to his work New Experiments Phsio Mechanicall, Touching the Spring of the Air and its Effects. The 1660 text was the result of three years of experimenting with an air pump with the help of Hooke who he employed as his assistant.  The apparatus had been designed by Hooke and using  it .
  • Boyle had discovered a whole series of important facts. He had shown, among other things, that sound did not travel in a vaccum, he had proved that flame required air as did life, and he investigated the elastic properties of air.
  • The 1662 appendix did not only contain Boyle’s law which relates volume and pressure in a gas, but it also contained a defence Boyle’s work on the vaccum which appeared in the main text.
  • Many scientists, particularly Hobbes, had argued that a vaccum could not exist and claimed that Boyle’s results obtained with the vaccum pump must be the result of some yet undiscovered force. Another book by Boyle in 1666 was called Hydrostatic paradoxes.
  • Boyle’s ideas that the primary particles move freely in fluids, less freely in solids, followed Descartes.
  • Boyle was a founding fellow of the Royal Society. He published his results  on the physical properties of air through this society.
  • His work in Chemistry was aimed at establishing it as a mathematical science based on a mechanistic theory of matter.
  • Boyle was one of the first to extend the application of mathematics to chemistry which he tried to develop as a science whose complex appearance was merely the result on simple mathematical laws applied to simple fundamental particles.
  • In June, 1670 he had a stroke which left his paralysed but slowly he recovered his health.
  • In 1680 he declined the offer that he serve as President of the Royal Society. He explained his reasons were religious  in that he could not swear to necessary oaths.
  • Died -30 Dec., 1691 in London, England.


Robert Boyle

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