Yale £14.99 (366pp) £13.49 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Boyle, By Michael Hunter
Friday 18 February 2011
Though his discoveries have been overshadowed by his younger contemporary Isaac Newton, this lucid and absorbing life reminds us that Robert Boyle "stands at the roots of British empiricism".
Through innovative experiment, he not only pioneered the study of gas pressure that resulted in his eponymous Law but also explored a host of other fields.
His discoveries that colours were dependent on light, and water expands when frozen, overturned dogmas held since the time of Aristotle.
A scientist before the word had been invented, his anxiety about rationalising his empirical work with his deep need for faith has a modern ring. Boyle makes a far more likeable subject for biography than the equally religiously obsessed Newton.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 This is what happens when you tattoo Charmander on yourself, drunk, and with no experience
- 2 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer has leaked – watch
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a white stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Russian warships in English Channel 'to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine military drills'