Happy #WisdomWednesday! Our book of the week is The Skeptical Chemist by Robert Boyle. If you are interested in adding this wonderful edition to your library, copies are available for purchase via our website!

Sometimes called the founder of modern chemistry, the Seventeenth-century natural philosopher Robert Boyle is credited with transforming chemistry from an occult discipline to a modern science in which theory and practical experiment support and advance each other. Influenced by Bacon and Descartes, Boyle formulated his empirically based “corpuscular” theory of the constitution of matter, which freed chemistry from the then accepted notion of elements – “whether the earth, air, fire, and water of the Aristotelians; the salt, sulfur, and mercury of the Paracelsans; [or] the phlegm, oil, spirit, acid and alkali of later chemists.”

Boyle’s corpuscular philosophy was first published in 1661 in Certain Physiological Essays and later that year in the first edition of The Sceptical Chymist.  The second edition of the latter (1680), upon which this Classics of Science facsimile is based, contains nearly twice the material as the first edition and includes Boyle’s law (volume varies inversely with pressure), originally stated in 1662.


Who was Robert Boyle?

Robert Boyle

Robert Boyle was an Anglo-Irish philosopher, writer, and scientist.  He was born on January 25th, 1627 in Waterford, Ireland and died December 31, 1691 in London, England. Boyle had been born into a wealthy family and was already receiving a formal education by age 8. Later in life he started his literary work, while at the Boyle’s hereditary estate of Stalbridge. During this time his interest in nature sparked and he became more involved in scientific experiments while also in contact with a group of natural philosophers. In 1654 he was then invited to Oxford where he took up residence and his scientific career blossomed. There he was exposed to new theories and developments in natural philosophy. (Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2017)


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Want more facts about Robert Boyle? Visit the Encyclopedia Britannica website.

To learn more about book and other Gryphon Editions titles check out our website, and be sure to follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)!



Gryphon Editions (2017) Classics of Science Library.

Encyclopedia Britannica Inc. (2017) Robert Boyle

Photos –

Thinglink (2017) Robert Boyle.

Gryphon Editions (2017) The Skeptical Chemist



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