GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Robert Boyle. Engraving of Robert Boyle (1627-91), the British chemist who established chemistry as a separate science. His work stressed the need for experiment, precision and accurate observation. Boyle rejected the theory that 4 elements (fire, air, water and earth) were the basic constituents of the Universe. Boyle postulated that there were a large number of 'elements' which could not be broken down into simpler chemicals. He formulated Boyle's law, which states that for a gas at a constant temperature the product of its pressure and volume is a constant. He devised analytical tests including the use of vegetable dyes as acid- base indicators and flame tests to detect metals.
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