Boyle: Between God and Science

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Overview

Robert Boyle ranks with Newton and Einstein as one of the world’s most important scientists. Aristocrat and natural philosopher, he was a remarkably wide-ranging and penetrating thinker—pioneering the modern experimental method, championing a novel mechanical view of nature, and reflecting deeply on philosophical and theological issues related to science. But, as Michael Hunter shows, Boyle was also a complex and contradictory personality, fascinated by alchemy and magic and privately plagued with doubts about faith and conscience, which troubled the rational vision he heralded.

This extraordinary work is the first biography of Boyle in a generation, and the culminating achievement of a world-renowned expert on the scientist. Deftly navigating Boyle’s voluminous published works as well as his personal letters and papers, Hunter’s complete and intimate account gives us the man rather than myth, the troubled introvert as well as the public campaigner. Lively, perceptive, and full of original insights, this is the definitive account of a remarkable man and the changing world in which he lived.

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Editorial Reviews

American Scientist

"Hunter has written what will be the first point of reference for future inquiries concerning Boyle."--American Scientist
The Washington Post

"Michael Hunter is. . . our leading authority on Boyle."--Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

— Michael Dirda

Choice

"Definitive."--Choice
Journal of Ecclesiastical History

"Robert Boyle [is] one of the most prominent natural philosophers of the second half of the seventeenth century. . . . This book will provide essential background for scholars."—Margaret J. Osler, Journal of Ecclesiastical History

— Margaret J. Osler

Seed Magazine - Top 10 Books of the Year

Selected as one of the Top 10 Books of the Year, Seed Magazine
History of Science Society - Pfizer Prize Shortlist

Shortlisted for the 2009 History of Science's Pfizer Prize for Outstanding Book
The Washington Post - Michael Dirda

"Michael Hunter is. . . our leading authority on Boyle."--Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
Journal of Ecclesiastical History - Margaret J. Osler

"Robert Boyle [is] one of the most prominent natural philosophers of the second half of the seventeenth century. . . . This book will provide essential background for scholars."—Margaret J. Osler, Journal of Ecclesiastical History
Chemical Heritage Foundation - Roy G. Neville Prize

Winner of the 2011 Roy G. Neville Prize sponsored by Chemical Heritage Foundation
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300169317
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 9/10/2010
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

A renowned world expert on Robert Boyle, Michael Hunter is professor of history, Birkbeck College, University of London.

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