Robert Boyle, Anglo-Irish chemist

Robert Boyle, Anglo-Irish chemist

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Credit: PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Robert Boyle (1627-1691), Anglo-Irish chemist, physicist and inventor. One of the founders of the Royal Society, Boyle's famous 1659 vacuum pump is in the foreground containing a mammal used to show that animals cannot live in a vacuum. A variety of plants, chemicals, apparatus books and notes point to his numerous other important experiments on pressure, liquids and gases. Following Bacon's principles (though never avowedly Baconian) he established the experimental method. His work marks the beginning of modern chemistry. He correctly stated that matter comprised 'corpuscles' which were built of different configurations of primary particles that could not be reduced. This 1739 artwork (printed 1740) is by George Vertue and J. Kerfesboom, from an image in the collection of Dr Mead.

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