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Preparing for the inaugural Robert Boyle Summer School.
boyles law

Open thread: What do you remember from school?

Survey claims that three-quarters of Irish people asked about Boyle’s Law remembered it from their school days. Really?

A SURVEY CARRIED out by the Robert Boyle Summer School has found that, of those asked recall the basic principles of Boyle’s Law, 75 per cent said they did.

The discovery by Boyle – who was born in Lismore, Co Waterford where the summer school begins today – describes the relationship between the pressure and volume of gas. It was one of the groundbreaking discoveries of the 17th century, cementing Boyle’s name in history as one of the greatest Irish scientists ever.

“This discovery had a major impact on 17th century thought as it supported the idea that the universe obeyed mathematical laws and could be understood through science. This was the beginning of the modern age,” said Eoin Gill, director of the Centre for the Advancement of Learning of Maths, Science and Technology at Waterford IT.

“The story of Boyle as an Irish scientist is rather amazing, from his childhood in an Irish castle to becoming the most celebrated scientist in London. Boyle first published the law that bears his name in 1662. Boyle’s Law states that with an enclosed volume of gas, the pressure varies inversely with the volume if the gas is kept at a constant temperature.”

We carried out a totally unscientific survey in’s newsroom and we’re sad to report that a great deal fewer than three out of four people could reel off Boyle’s Law.

So we’re wondering: what specific bits of information have you retained from school? (Pythagoras Theorem and the first verse of Yeats’s He Wishes for the Cloths of the Heaven seem to be most popular here…)

Let us know in the comments below…

Major European science forum gets under way in Dublin>

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