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Skeptical Chemist: The Story of Robert Boyle Library Binding – Nov 1 2006
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From School Library Journal
Grade 6 Up—Baxter introduces a significant scientist about whom surprisingly little has been published. Boyle set standards for the scientific method that remain influential today, and he challenged accepting the authority of the ancients, such as Aristotle. Some of his findings seem obvious to us today, but his biggest contribution to science was the practice of conducting repeatable experiments. A comical poem about the chemist's methods, written by a contemporary, enriches the account. Each chapter opens with a garish mixture of a gothic typeface in purple on lime-green pages. This unusual design, along with color reproductions of period paintings and engravings, serves to break up the text. A chapter on Boyle's legacy, a time line, and source notes enhance this volume as does a list of authoritative Web sites.—Janet S. Thompson, Chicago Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Born into a wealthy, privileged family and brought up in Ireland and England, Boyle followed an unconventional path for a seventeenth-century gentleman. He devoted a good deal of his time and resources to what he called alchemy and natural philosophy and we call science. Baxter makes a convincing case for Boyle's significance as a key figure in the field of scientific experimentation as well as his contributions to modern chemistry and physics. Well organized and clearly written, her book offers a good view of changes in science and society at this pivotal time and presents a well-rounded view of Boyle, whose interests extended beyond scientific inquiry and discussion. The color illustrations include period portraits, paintings, and tinted engravings. For a somewhat older audience than Mary Gow's Robert Boyle: Pioneer of Experimental Chemistry (2005), this thoroughly researched biography offers a fine depiction of Boyle's life and times. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Boyle was a member of the British upper class, born in 1627 he lived until 1691. English history students will recognize this as including the years when Oliver Cromwell overthrew King Charles I, when the Black Death was running rampant, when the Great Fire of London destroyed much of the city.
This was also a time when experimental science was beginning to replace the earlier Aristotle based ideas of only thinking about a problem was beginning to be replaced by experiment. The whole concept of science was changed by this simple rule. An experiment proved or disproved a theory. The experiment must be repeatable, that is, you or I must be able to do the same esperiment and get the same results over and over. Students will recognize this as the basis for experiments demonstrated by teachers or conducted by the students themselves.
By any measure, Boyle was one of the great scientists of all time.