Robert Boyle : biography
Boyle also had a monogenist perspective about race origin. He was a pioneer studying races, and he believed that all human beings, (no matter how diverse their physical differences), came from the same source: Adam and Eve. He studied reported stories of parents’ giving birth to different coloured albinos, so he concluded that Adam and Eve were originally white and that Caucasians could give birth to different coloured races. Theories of Robert Hooke and Isaac Newton about color and light via optical projection (in physics), were also extended by Robert Boyle into discourses of polygenesis,Jen E. Boyle (2010), "Anamorphosis in Early Modern Literature: Mediation and Affect", Ashgate, page 74 speculating that maybe these differences were due to "seminal impressions". Taking this into account, it might be considered that he envisioned a good explanation for complexion at his time, due to the fact that now we know that skin color is disposed by genes, which are actually contained in the semen. Boyle’s writings mention that at his time, for "European Eyes", beauty was not measured so much in colour of skin, but in "stature, comely symmetry of the parts of the body, and good features in the face".Robert Boyle (1664), "", Henry Herringman, London, pages 160-161 Various members of the scientific community rejected his views and described them as "disturbing" or "amusing".
In his Will, Boyle provided money for a series of lectures to defend the Christian religion against those he considered "notorious infidels, namely atheists, deists, pagans, Jews and Muslims", with the provision that controversies between Christians were not to be mentioned (see Boyle Lectures).
Title page of The Sceptical Chymist (1661). Boyle’s self-flowing flask, a [[perpetual motion machine, appears to fill itself through siphon action ("hydrostatic perpetual motion") and involves the "hydrostatic paradox" This is not possible in reality; a siphon requires its "output" to be lower than the "input".]]
The following are some of the more important of his works:
- 1660 – New Experiments Physico-Mechanical: Touching the Spring of the Air and their Effects
- 1661 – The Sceptical Chymist
- 1663 – Considerations touching the Usefulness of Experimental Natural Philosophy (followed by a second part in 1671)
- 1664 – Experiments and Considerations Touching Colours, with Observations on a Diamond that Shines in the Dark
- 1665 – New Experiments and Observations upon Cold
- 1666 – Hydrostatical ParadoxesCf. Hunter (2009), p.147. "It forms a kind of sequel to Spring of the Air … but although Boyle notes he might have published it as part of an appendix to that work, it formed a self-contained whole, dealing with atmospheric pressure with particular reference to liquid masses"
- 1666 – Origin of Forms and Qualities according to the Corpuscular Philosophy
- 1669 – a continuation of his work on the spring of air
- 1670 – demonstrated that a reduction in ambient pressure could lead to bubble formation in living tissue. This description of a viper in a vacuum was the first recorded description of decompression sickness.
- 1670 – tracts about the Cosmical Qualities of Things, the Temperature of the Subterraneal and Submarine Regions, the Bottom of the Sea, &c. with an Introduction to the History of Particular Qualities
- 1672 – Origin and Virtues of Gems
- 1673 – Essays of the Strange Subtilty, Great Efficacy, Determinate Nature of Effluviums
- 1674 – two volumes of tracts on the Saltiness of the Sea, Suspicions about the Hidden Realities of the Air, Cold, Celestial Magnets, Animadversions on Hobbes’s Problemata de Vacuo
- 1676 – Experiments and Notes about the Mechanical Origin or Production of Particular Qualities, including some notes on electricity and magnetism
- 1678 – Observations upon an artificial Substance that Shines without any Preceding Illustration
- 1680 – the Aerial Noctiluca
- 1682 – New Experiments and Observations upon the Icy Noctiluca
- 1682 – a further continuation of his work on the air
- 1684 – Memoirs for the Natural History of the Human Blood
- 1685 – Short Memoirs for the Natural Experimental History of Mineral Waters
- 1686 – A Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature
- 1690 – Medicina Hydrostatica
- 1691 – Experimentae et Observationes Physicae