Robert Boyle

12 Jun, 2014 540 Chemistry

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the life and work of Robert Boyle, a pioneering scientist and a founder member of the Royal Society. Born in Ireland in 1627, Boyle was one of the first natural philosophers to conduct rigorous experiments, laid the foundations of modern chemistry and derived Boyle’s Law, describing the physical properties of gases. In addition to his experimental work he left a substantial body of writings about philosophy and religion; his piety was one of the most important factors in his intellectual activities, prompting a celebrated dispute with his contemporary Thomas Hobbes.

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  • Simon Schaffer 25 episodes
    Professor of the History of Science at the University of Cambridge
  • Michael Hunter 2 episodes
    Emeritus Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London
  • Anna Marie Roos No other episodes
    Senior Lecturer in the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Lincoln

Reading list

  • Boyle: Between God and Science
    Michael Hunter (Yale University Press, 2009) Google Books →
  • Robert Boyle: A Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature
    Michael Hunter and Edward B. Davis (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 1996)
  • Robert Boyle: Scrupulosity and Science
    Michael Hunter (Boydell, 2000)
  • The Excellencies of Robert Boyle
    J.J. MacIntosh (ed.) (Broadview Editions, 2008)
  • The Secrets of Alchemy
    Lawrence M. Principe (University of Chicago Press, 2012) Google Books →
  • The Aspiring Adept: Robert Boyle and His Alchemical Quest
    Lawrence M. Principe (Princeton University Press, 2000) Google Books →
  • Alchemy Tried in the Fire: Starkey, Boyle and the Fate of Helmontian Chymistry
    Lawrence M. Principe and William R. Newman (Chicago University Press, 2002) Google Books →
  • Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life
    Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer (Princeton University Press, 2011) Google Books →
  • A Social History of Truth: Civility and Science in 17th-Century England
    Steven Shapin (Chicago University Press, 1994)

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, on the 7th of January 1692, a vast congregation filled the church of St Martin-in-the-Field for the funeral of one of the country's most celebrated thinkers.