Robert Boyle Essay

942 words - 4 pages

Good essay Excellent essay. It needs more informationRobert Boyle is considered both the founder of modern chemistry and the greatest English scientist to live during the first thirty years of the existence of the Royal Society. He was not only a chemist and a physicist as we know him to be, but also an avid theologian, a philanthropist, an essayist, and a beginner in medicine. Born in Lismore, Ireland to Richard Boyle, first earl of Cork, and Katherine Fenton, his second wife, Boyle was the youngest son in a family of fourteen. However he was not shortchanged of anything. After private tutoring at home for eight years, Robert Boyle was sent to Eton College where he studied for four years. At the age of twelve, Boyle traveled to the Continent, as it was referred to at the time. There he found a private tutor by the name of Marcombes in Geneva. While traveling between Italy, France, and England, Boyle was being tutored in the polite arts, philosophy, theology, mathematics, and science.As the years went by, Boyle became more and more interested in medicine. His curiosity in this field led him to chemistry. At first Boyle was mainly interested in the facet of chemistry that dealt with the preparation of drugs, but soon he became genuinely interested in the subject and started to study it in great detail. His studies led him to Oxford where he joined such scientists as John Wilkins and John Wallis, and together in 1660, they founded the Royal Society of London for the Advancement of Science.From this point onwards, Boyle seriously undertook the reformation of science. For centuries scientists had been explaining the unknown with the simple explanation that god made it that way. Though Boyle did not argue with this, he did believe that there was a scientific explanation for god's doings. Boyle's point of view can be seen by his dealings with the elements. At this time it was thought that an element was not only the simplest body to which something could be broken down, but also a necessary component of all bodies. Meaning that if oil was an element, it would not be able to be broken down, and it would be found in everything. Boyle did not accept this theory, whether it referred to the earth, air, fire, and water of the Aristotelians, the salt, sulfur, and mercury of the Paracelsans, or the phlegm, oil, spirit, acid, and alkali of later chemists. He did not believe that these elements were truly fundamental in their nature. Boyle thought that the only things common in all bodies were corpuscles, atom-like structures that were created by god and that now occupy all void space. He began to preform experiments, concentrating on the color changes that took place in reactions. He started to devise a system of...

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