Robert Boyle

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.


Simon Schaffer
Professor of the History of Science at the University of Cambridge

Michael Hunter
Emeritus Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London

Anna Marie Roos
Senior Lecturer in the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Lincoln

Producer: Thomas Morris.

Release date:

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Thu 12 Jun 2014 21:30

Related topics


Simon Schaffer at the University of Cambridge


Michael Hunter at Birkbeck College, University of London


Anna Marie Roos at the University of Lincoln


Robert Boyle - Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


Robert Boyle - Wikipedia





Michael Hunter, Boyle: Between God and Science (Yale University Press, 2009)


Michael Hunter and Edward B. Davis (eds.), Robert Boyle: A Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature (Cambridge University Press, 1996)


Michael Hunter, Robert Boyle: Scrupulosity and Science (Boydell, 2000)


J.J. MacIntosh (ed.), The Excellencies of Robert Boyle (Broadview Editions, 2008)


Lawrence M. Principe, The Secrets of Alchemy (University of Chicago Press, 2012)


Lawrence M. Principe, The Aspiring Adept: Robert Boyle and His Alchemical Quest (Princeton University Press, 2000)


Lawrence M. Principe and William R. Newman, Alchemy Tried in the Fire: Starkey, Boyle and the Fate of Helmontian Chymistry (Chicago University Press, 2002)


Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life (Princeton University Press, 2011)


Steven Shapin, A Social History of Truth: Civility and Science in 17th-Century England (Chicago University Press, 1994)



Role Contributor
PresenterMelvyn Bragg
ProducerThomas Morris
Interviewed GuestSimon Schaffer
Interviewed GuestMichael Hunter
Interviewed GuestAnna Marie Roos

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