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Boyle attached paramount importance to laboratory research.

Boyle attached paramount importance to laboratory research.

There were many heated debates here, and Robert, after returning to London, became one of the regulars of such receptions. However, the future scientist dreamed of moving from abstract controversy to the real thing.

Boyle dreamed of his own laboratory, but did not dare to ask his sister for financial support. It occurred to him that the numerous buildings of the estate could be converted into laboratories; besides, it’s close to Oxford, and London is not far away: you can still meet friends …

On the top floor of the castle in Stolbridge there was a bedroom, an office, a spacious hall and a very rich library. Every week the driver delivered drawers of new books from London. Boyle read with incredible speed. Sometimes he sat for a book from morning till late in the evening. In the meantime, the laboratory equipment was nearing completion.

By the end of 1645, research in physics, chemistry and agrochemistry began in the laboratory. Boyle liked to work on several issues simultaneously. Of course, he explained in detail to the assistants what they had to do in a day, and then went to the office, where he was waiting for the secretary. There he dictated his philosophical treatises.

An encyclopedic scientist, Boyle, dealing with the problems of biology, medicine, physics and chemistry, showed no less interest in philosophy, theology and linguistics. Boyle attached paramount importance to laboratory research. His most interesting and diverse experiments in chemistry. Boyle believed that chemistry, based on alchemy and medicine, could well become an independent science.

Initially, Boyle was engaged in obtaining tinctures of flowers, medicinal herbs, lichens, bark and plant roots … Many different colors of tinctures prepared by the scientist and his assistants. Some changed their color only under the action of acids, others – under the action of alkalis. However, the most interesting was the purple tincture obtained from litmus lichen. Acids changed its color to red, and alkali – to blue. Boyle ordered to impregnate the paper with this infusion and then dry it. A piece of such paper, immersed in the test solution, changed its color and showed whether the solution was acidic or alkaline.

It was one of the first substances that Boyle called indicators even then. And as often happens in science, one discovery has led to another. When studying the infusion of ink nut in water, Boyle found that with iron salts it forms a solution, painted black. This black solution could be used as an ink. Boyle studied in detail the conditions for obtaining ink and compiled the necessary recipes that have been used for almost a century to produce high-quality black ink.

The observant scientist could not pass by another property of the solutions: when a little hydrochloric acid was added to a solution of silver in nitric acid, a white precipitate formed, which Boyle called "moon cornea" (silver chloride). If this precipitate was left in an open vessel, it turned black. There was an analytical reaction, which probably shows that the test substance contains "moon" (silver).

The young scientist continued to doubt the universal analytical ability of fire and sought other means of analysis. His many years of research have shown that when substances are exposed to certain reagents, they can decompose into simpler compounds. Using specific reactions, it was possible to determine these compounds. Some substances formed colored precipitates, others emitted gas with a characteristic odor, others gave colored solutions, and so on.

Boyle called the processes of decomposition of substances and the identification of the obtained products by means of characteristic reactions an analysis. This was a new method of work that gave impetus to the development of analytical chemistry.

However, scientific work in Stolbridge had to stop. The bad news came from Ireland: the rebel peasants had destroyed the castle in Kirka, and the income of the estate had fallen sharply. In early 1652, Boyle was forced to move to the ancestral estate. A lot of time was spent on settling financial problems, a more experienced manager was appointed, and from time to time Boyle himself supervised his work.

In 1654, the scientist moved to Oxford, where he continued his experiments with his assistant Wilhelm Gomberg. Research was reduced to one goal: to systematize substances and divide them into groups according to their properties.

Boyle and Gomberg obtained and studied many salts. Their classification became larger and more complete with each experiment. Not everything in the interpretation of scientists was accurate, not everything corresponded to the ideas that existed at the time, but, nevertheless, it was a bold step towards a consistent theory, a step that transformed chemistry from craft to science. It was an attempt to introduce theoretical foundations into chemistry, without which science cannot exist as such, without which it cannot move forward.

After Gomberg, his assistant was a young physicist Robert Hooke. They mainly devoted their research to gases and the development of corpuscular theory.

After learning from the scientific publications of the German physicist Otto Guericke, Boyle decided to repeat his experiments and for this purpose invented the original design of the air pump. The first example of this machine was built with Hook. The researchers were able to almost completely remove the air with the pump. However, all attempts to prove the presence of ether in an empty vessel were in vain.

– There is no broadcast, Boyle concluded. He decided to call the empty space a vacuum, which in Latin means "empty"…

The crisis that engulfed the whole of England in the late fifties interrupted his scientific work. Outraged by Cromwell’s brutal dictatorship, supporters of the monarchy rose again to fight. Arrests and killings, bloody strife have become commonplace in the country.

Boyle went to the estate: there you could work quietly. He decided to present the results of his research over the past ten years. Two secretaries worked in Boyle’s office almost around the clock. One under his dictation wrote down the thoughts of the scientist, the other rewrote the sketches that were already available. In a few months, they completed Boyle’s first major scientific work "New physical and mechanical experiments on the weight of air and its manifestation"…

The book was published in 1660. Without wasting a day, Boyle begins work on his next work: "A chemist is a skeptic"… In these books, Boyle did not leave a stone unturned from Aristotle’s teaching on the four elements, which existed for almost two thousand years, "ether" and three alchemical principles. Naturally, this work provoked sharp attacks from the followers of Aristotle and the Cartesians (followers of Descartes).

However, Boyle relied on his experience and experiments, and therefore his evidence was indisputable. Most scientists – followers of corpuscular theory – enthusiastically accepted Boyle’s ideas. Many of his ideological opponents were also forced to acknowledge the discovery of the scientist, including the physicist Christian Huygens, a supporter of the idea of ??the existence of the ether.

After the accession to the throne of Charles II, the country’s political life returned to normal, and the scientist could already conduct research in Oxford. Sometimes he visited London, to his sister Catherine. His assistant at the Oxford Laboratory was now a young physicist, Richard Townley.

Together with him, Boyle discovered one of the fundamental laws of physics, finding that the change in gas volume is inversely proportional to the change in pressure. This meant that, knowing the change in volume, it was possible to accurately calculate the change in gas pressure. It became one of the greatest discoveries of the XVII century. Boyle first described it in 1662 ("In defense of training on the elasticity and weight of air") and modestly called the hypothesis. Fifteen years later in France, Marriott confirmed Boyle’s discovery, establishing the same pattern. In fact, this was the first law of physical and chemical science that was born.

In addition, Boyle proved that when the pressure changes, even those substances that do not occur under normal conditions, such as ice, can evaporate. Boyle was the first to describe the expansion of bodies when heated and cooled.

After cooling the iron pipe filled with water, Boyle watched as it burst under the influence of ice. For the first time in the history of science, he showed that when the pressure drops, water can boil, remaining barely warm.

However, discovering new phenomena, Boyle could not always explain their cause. Thus, observing the rise of fluid in thin tubes, he did not realize that he had discovered the phenomenon of surface tension. This will be done much later by the English physicist D. Stokes.

Boyle also discovered that the air changes from the combustion of bodies in it, that some metals increase in weight when heated. But he failed to draw any theoretical conclusions from these works. Note that Boyle is not to blame for this, because he was at the very beginning of experimental physics.

Becoming a leading English physicist and chemist, Boyle took the initiative to organize the Society of Sciences, which soon became known as the Royal Society of London. Boyle was president of this scientific organization from 1680 until his death. During his lifetime, the Royal Society was a recognized scientific center, around which united the greatest scientists of the time: John Locke, Isaac Newton, D. Wallace.

Boyle was in the heyday of creative forces: one after another appeared from under his pen scientific works on philosophy, physics, chemistry. In 1664 he published "Experiments and reflections on colors"…

Boyle was at the height of his fame at the time. He is often invited to the palace, because the strong of the world considered it an honor to talk for a few minutes with "luminary of English science"… He was honored everywhere and even offered to become a member of the company "Royal mines"… The following year he was appointed director of the East India Company. However, all this could not distract the scientist from the main work. Boyle used all the proceeds from this position for the development of science. It was in Oxford that Boyle established one of the first scientific laboratories in Europe, in which many famous scientists worked with him.

His new books buy comparative essay are published: "Hydrostatic paradoxes" "The emergence of forms and qualities according to corpuscular theory" "About mineral waters"…