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Priory of Sion Grand Master: Robert Boyle

Robert Boyle, Anglo-Irish chemist

Robert Boyle

Robert Boyle was born on the 27th January 1627, in County Waterford, Ireland, the seventh son of the Earl of Cork.  He was educated at Eton, and then travelled across Europe, learning as he went until his return in 1644, with a head full of scientific ideas.  He took up residence in Dorset, where he built himself a laboratory.

In 1654, Robert Boyle took up the post as Grand Master of the Priory of Sion, a post he held until his death in 1691.

Around the mid 1650’s moved to Oxford, and took on assistant Robert Hooke, and together they designed a working vacuum chamber/air-pump.

In those days’ experimentation wasn’t the done thing, it was highly controversial.  The established method was to discuss it with like-minded scientist, using well established rules, which had been put together by the likes of Aristotle and other’s over the previous 2,000 years.

Boyle wasn’t interested in discussions, he wanted to observe what took place, and draw his own conclusions.  He became one of the first scientists to perform experiments, and go on to publish his work with details.  His first publication took place in 1659 on Philosophy – Medicine – Religion.

According to Boyle’s Law, this states that if the volume of gas is decreased, pressure increases proportionally.  Boyle defined what an element be, and went on to introduce the litmus test to tell acids from bases.

In 1660 Robert Boyle who was part of the “Invisible College” of dynamic English & European minds along with eleven fellow scientists formed the Royal Society in London, with King Charles II as its patron and sponsor, of the House of Stuart.  They would meet regularly to witness experiments and discuss their results.

In 1668, Boyle took up permanent residence in London, living with his sister.  In 1680 he was offered the presidency of the Royal Society, which he had played a part in its creation.  He had strong religious principles, and the oath of presidency violated his beliefs, for that reason he refused the post of President.

On the 31st December 1691 Robert Boyle died in London.

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