BOYLE, Robert.

New Experiments Physico-Mechanical, touching the Spring of the Air, and its Effects, (made, for the most part, in a new pneumatical engine)…

Oxford: Printed by H. Hall…for Tho. Robinson.1662

3 parts in 1 volume, 4to, pp. (xvi), 207; (xii), 122, (2) blank; (viii), 86, 85–98, (2) blank, 2 engraved plates (1 folding). Without the blank leaf m4 in part 3. Half-title, separate title-page to each part. Tear without loss in folding plate, two small wormtracks in extreme upper corner of second part diminishing to a single wormhole, otherwise a very nice copy. Contemporary calf, rebacked, red edges, fore-edges of front endpapers a little ragged.

Second edition but the first announcement of Boyle’s law, relating to the inverse proportion of the volume and pressure of a gas, which was Boyle’s most important achievement in physics and one of the greatest contributions to physical science. Not only does Boyle here enunciate a fundamental law, but he supports it with the evidence of verifiable experiments. It exemplifies perfectly the methodology of what is now known as the experimental method of science: hypothesis tested by experimental proof, which Boyle was among the first to adopt. To this second edition Boyle added a defence of his views against attacks by Hobbes and Franciscus Linus, among others. “This second edition (here cited) is particularly important for what Boyle called an ‘hypothesis’ but what we know as ‘Boyle’s Law’: that the volume of air in a confined space varies inversely as the pressure. He demonstrated this by much experimental detail: with experiments on rarefaction performed by others, including Hooke, and on compression performed by himself” (PMM). Printing and the Mind of Man 143. Evans, Epochal Achievements, 28. Dibner 142. Horblit 15. Parkinson, Breakthroughs, 1662. G&M 666. Wing B3999. Fulton 14.


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