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Peregrine flight

Monday, June 28, 2010

Robert Boyle - English Chemist and Visionary

My wife Leslie pointed out an interesting article in the paper at dinner last night about Robert Boyle, the 17th century founder of Britain's Royal Society.

Boyle had an uncanny knack for auguring the future.

He envisioned submarines, airplanes, psychedelic drugs, organ transplants, kevlar armor, scratch and sniff paper, antidepressants, sleeping pills, genetically modified crops and a host of other predictions that have come true over the span of time.

Boyle, whose papers have just gone on display for the first time, had a wish list of 24 predictions, the majority of which have been fulfilled or discovered in the last 350 years.

Boyle was a writer, alchemist, physicist, theologian, inventor and scientist best known for Boyle's Law of Gases. Boyle's law describes the inversely proportional relationship between the absolute pressure and volume of a gas, if the temperature is kept constant within a closed system.

One of his prognostications was the ability to diagnose and practice medicine from afar. We are on the advent of such technology, in fact Paul Jacobs, CEO of Qualcomm announced this week that the cell phone is the perfect medium for medical diagnostics and they have a bunch of cool new gadgets planned. Of course, Dr. McCoy from Star Trek was all over this years ago, or from now, depending on your perspective.

Boyle founded the "Invisible College" at Oxford University and then the Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge in 1660. The society's motto was Nullus In Verba – Take Nobody's Word For It. An interesting visionary, worth celebrating.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

enuf on kitty cats.

WildBill said...

Not sure his religious philosophy was as progressive as his scientific endeavors... From the Wikipedia article:

"He founded the Boyle Lectures, intended to defend the Christian religion against those he considered "notorious infidels, namely atheists, deists, pagans, Jews and Muslims""

Blue Heron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blue Heron said...

Sounds like my kind of guy. There you go with the italics again. How the hell do you do that?

WildBill said...

How the hell do you do that?

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