Robert Boyle


One of the most recognized characters in the current field of chemistry was Robert Boyle, apart from being a renowned chemist, he also dedicated part of his life to Christian theology. He is responsible for the formulation of Boyle’s Law which links the volume and pressure that a gas has when it is subjected to a constant temperature .


Personal information

  • When was he born: 01/25/1627
  • Where he was born: Lismore, Ireland
  • When he died: 12/31/1691
  • Where he died: London, England

Who was Robert Boyle?

Robert Boyle, the first modern chemist, was a renowned chemist , theologian , philosopher , physicist, and inventor known primarily for his famous Boyle’s law . His works gave rise to current chemistry.

  • Historic context
  • Robert Boyle Biography
  • Death
  • Education
  • Robert Boyle’s contributions
  • Discoveries
  • Physical characteristics
  • Personality
  • Parents
  • Relations
  • Sons
  • Importance
  • Phrases
  • Acknowledgments to Robert Boyle
  • Presence in popular culture
  • Curiosities

Historic context

Boyle was born at a time when alchemy had the greatest importance in relation to science , in which a totally blind faith was washed in favor of the transmutation of the elements in order to create gold and also achieve eternal life . Four elements will be considered basic: earth, air, water and fire so Boyle tried to replace all these mythical ideas with ideas that were rational and empirical .

Robert Boyle Biography

Robert Boyle was born on January 25 in the city of Waterford located in Ireland , in the year 1627 . He was born in the Castle of Lismore , into a wealthy family. He received education as a child and learned several languages after the death of his father received some properties as an inheritance. Thanks to his fortune, he had the ability to dedicate himself to studying science and throughout his life he managed to carry out different studies and important inventions .

He was working at the University of Oxford and during that time he carried out a large number of experiments that were key to determining the physical characteristics that air had . The results of these investigations were synthesized in his work New Physical-Mechanical Experiments , which dealt with the elasticity of air and its effects.


Robert Boyle died on December 31, 1691 in London where he had been living with his mother for many years. His cause of death was paralysis and his remains were interred in the St. Martin-in-the-Fields Cemetery .


Thanks to the economic situation of his family, Robert Boyle managed to have good studies since he was a child. At the beginning he learned French , Greek and Latin and during his youth he was able to enter to study elite education with tutors from France where he devoted himself to studying and analyzing the work of Galileo Galilei . He entered the Invisible College , a precursor institution to the British Royal Society. Also several studies on theology and Christian affairs.

Robert Boyle’s contributions

There were many contributions that Robert Boyle managed to make to chemistry through his experimental verification . He was a modern alchemist who knew that he could transmute metals and who strove to achieve a more modern view of the elements and chemical and physical processes . He was able to clearly understand what the differences were between mixtures and compounds and established several technical practices that were later applied today.

His contributions included studies on the nature of gases , on the process of combustion and respiration . He managed to discover what the true role of others was in these two aforementioned processes and created the largest of his contributions, Boyle’s Law . He dedicated himself to studying the calcination that occurred of various metals, finally distinguishing between acidic substances and alkaline substances , definitions that would establish the bases of chemical elements .

He also defended the idea that atoms were structured with charges that were well defined, this he did at a time when this idea was not accepted by scientists, however, he himself managed to verify that air was made up of atoms. He also made a series of important contributions to the periodic table as he managed to establish more revolutionary concepts of the chemical element and contradicted all the bases of alchemy.


Among his main discoveries are the following:

  • Boyle ‘s Law : This law tells us that when you increase the volume the particles that are in the gas take longer to reach the walls of the container and therefore occur less number of collisions between particles generating a lower pressure . On the other hand, when the volume decreases then the distance that is traveled by the particles is less but there are more collisions between them causing the pressure to increase .
  • He managed to invent the air pump and improved it in order to prove the need for this element so that combustion can take place and to check the transmission of sound as well as human respiration.
  • He created the self -filling bottle which is considered one of his main contributions. It is a hypothetical theory in which a machine has the ability to function forever after an external force has managed to start it without the need to add an additional one.
  • He found that acidic substances having a bitter taste , they have the ability to corrode the metal because hydrogen off and when bound to bases or alkalis become less acidic .
  • He also managed to discover that bases , salts and acids are electrolytes which, when dissolved in water, have the ability to dissociate well charged particles , in other words ions which can also produce electric current.

Physical characteristics

There is no exact description of the characteristics of Robert Boyle.


Robert Boyle was a very intelligent person , focused and directed to achieve his goals . He believed faithfully in the natural and considered, due to his religiosity, that God had given human beings three important books, one on salvation , another on conscience, and then on nature . He was a man who gave importance to ethics and philosophy and affirmed that moral virtue should be the rational soul .


His father was Richard Boyle , a renowned English aristocrat who had come to Ireland to pursue politics and industry. His mother was Catherine Fenton.


Boyle was not a very social person and for this reason he did not get to know a woman to marry.


There are no records of any children Robert Boyle has had.


Robert Boyle was a man of great importance because he is considered the pioneer of experimentation in the field of chemistry mainly on the properties of gases. Thanks to his thoughts and research, it was possible to understand the behavior of matter and for this reason he is considered one of the precursors of the modern theory of chemical elements . It was thanks to him that it was possible to put an end to all superstition related to alchemy and he was the first scientist who managed to isolate a gas, thus defining the term chemical element.

Many of the things that he predicted as a scientist have been achieved today, effects related to organ transplants, the use of devices that generate information regarding geographic longitude, the creation of powerful analgesics and narcotics are some of the many things that Boyle referred to. Lastly, he was one of the founding members of the Royal Society of London.


Some of the most recognized phrases of Robert Boyle were:

  • He who said that it was not good for man to be alone, put celibacy among the lower states of perfection.
  • And I might add the confidence with which distracted people, many times when they are awake, think, that they see black demons in places where there is no black object in sight without them.
  • You can never prepare enough for death. Other actions can be repeated, they can be tried again after the first time.

Acknowledgments to Robert Boyle

Among its main recognitions we find:

  • He was chosen as Fellow of the Year at the London Royal Society for the Advancement of Natural Science.
  • The Boyle-Mariotte law was named in his honor . prize
  • The Royal Society of Chemistry is responsible for awarding one every two years in his honor which is known as the Robert Boyle Prize in Analytical Sciences.
  • There is a crater on the moon that bears his name just like an asteroid .

Presence in popular culture

In the cultural presence the memory of the importance of Robert Boyle continue to be. It is possible to find many of his works which continue to be read by physicists and chemists worldwide. Some examples of these works are the following:

  • New physico-mechanical experiments: Notes on the elasticity of air and its effects.
  • The skeptical chemist.
  • The hydrostatic paradox .
  • Origin of the forms and qualities according to the corpuscular philosophy.
  • Origin and virtues of gems.
  • «Seraphic love».
  • The Excellence of Theology in comparison with natural philosophy.


  • Robert Boyle who is considered to be the founder of modern chemistry .
  • Throughout his life he pursued the search for transmutational alchemy .
  • With his help, the Royal Society of London became the world’s leading scientific body and remains the leading national organization for the promotion of scientific research in Britain.

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