Boyle Between God and Science Michael Hunter

Publication date:
15 Nov 2010
Yale University Press
384 pages: 235 x 156mm
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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 the 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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Winner of the 2011 Samuel Pepys Award

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

"A comprehensive account of Boyle's life that incorporates all the latest research... Hunter meticulously investigates every scrap of evidence." Patricia Fara, BBC History Magazine

"This definitive biography of the great 17th-century scientist... is clear and very readable." Rev. Adam Ford, Church Times

"We'll never know enough about the day-to-day life or the inner turmoil of one of the 17th-century's finest natural philosophers, but Hunter brings us as close as we are ever likely to get." Jonathan Wright, Catholic Herald

"Boyle is an impressive figure, both as a natural philosopher and as a philosopher in our sense of the term, and Boyle: Between God and Science is a mine of information for anyone interested in Boyle, or, indeed, in philosophy in the early modern period." —J.J. MacIntosh, British Journal for the History of Philosophy

“Hunter deserves credit for shedding new light on the devout and politically trimming aristocrat.”— Ambix Vol.58 No.2