Robert Boyles' Things to Do List.

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ThomasHobbes
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Robert Boyles' Things to Do List.

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 16th, 2018, 11:03 am

Robert Boyle, President of the Royal Society, left a list in his effects. It was written between 1660 and 1691.
It bears no title, but the list in very interesting.

Boyle’s list of scientific projects:

The Prolongation of Life.
The Recovery of Youth, or at least some of the Marks of it, as new Teeth, new Hair colour’d as in youth.
The Art of Flying.
The Art of Continuing long under water, and exercising functions freely there.
The Cure of Wounds at a Distance.
The Cure of Diseases at a distance or at least by Transplantation.
The Attaining Gigantick Dimensions.
The Emulating of Fish without Engines by Custome and Education only.
The Acceleration of the Production of things out of Seed.
The Transmutation of Metalls.
The makeing of Glass Malleable.
The Transmutation of Species in Mineralls, Animals, and Vegetables.
The Liquid Alkaest and Other dissolving Menstruums.
The making of Parabolicall and Hyperbolicall Glasses.
The making Armor light and extremely hard.
The practicable and certain way of finding Longitudes.
The use of Pendulums at Sea and in Journeys, and the Application of it to watches.
Potent Druggs to alter or Exalt Imagination, Waking, Memory, and other functions, and appease pain, procure innocent sleep, harmless dreams, etc.
A Ship to saile with All Winds, and A Ship not to be Sunk.
Freedom from Necessity of much Sleeping exemplify’d by the Operations of Tea and what happens in Mad-Men.
Pleasing Dreams and physicall Exercises exemplify’d by the Egyptian Electuary and by the Fungus mentioned by the French Author.
Great Strength and Agility of Body exemplify’d by that of Frantick Epileptick and Hystericall persons.
A perpetuall Light.
Varnishes perfumable by Rubbing.

I think science has pretty much achieved all but a couple of these things.
The aim beginning "Pleasing Dreams...", I think, is LSD.

Not sure about these things:"The Attaining Gigantick Dimensions.

The Emulating of Fish without Engines by Custome and Education only.
The Acceleration of the Production of things out of Seed.

The Transmutation of Metalls."


Steve3007
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Re: Robert Boyles' Things to Do List.

Post by Steve3007 » August 17th, 2018, 5:25 am

I think it would have been great if he'd added "get milk" to the end of that shopping list.

The items that mention the problems of calculating longitudes at sea are interesting. I presume this must have influenced the famous "Longitude Prize" that resulted in the marine chronometers of John Harrison several decades after Robert Boyle died.

Steve3007
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Re: Robert Boyles' Things to Do List.

Post by Steve3007 » August 17th, 2018, 5:30 am

Varnishes perfumable by Rubbing
It seems odd that "scratch and sniff" stickers in magazines were apparently one of his pressing scientific priorities.

Steve3007
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Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm
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Re: Robert Boyles' Things to Do List.

Post by Steve3007 » August 17th, 2018, 5:33 am

The Emulating of Fish without Engines by Custome and Education only.
Now achieved in the form of aquarium screensavers.

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