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Boyle's Law and a Problem of Gravity *

Sometimes it pays to come in second or third rather than first. Richard Towneley is an astronomer who shares a passion for experimentation with his physician friend Henry Power. Together they test how a gas reacts under pressure by carrying a barometer up a hill. Power concludes that the volume of a gas is related to its pressure. (This is why a balloon expands when you blow air into it.) Towneley published Power's conclusions in a book last year and Power finally publishes this year, but Towneley had shown Robert Boyle an early draft of his book and discussed the conclusions with Boyle. Boyle then repeated those experiments but credited Towneley for the idea instead of Power. More importantly, Boyle used a better setup for his experiment. (Read as: "Experiments down in the lab are more fun than walking up a hill.") That is why it is called "Boyle's Law" in the modern day rather than Towneley's Law or Power's Law. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
You can't have a piston engine without Boyle's Law. You also can't have a compressor, vacuum pump, or for that matter, a syringe to take a blood sample. Those little vials use Boyle's Law and a vacuum to suck the blood in. It seems obvious in the modern day that a vacuum can exist even though nature (and most scientists of the time) abhor a vacuum. Most scientists believe that force must be conveyed through a medium. Thus, if I push a chair, it moves because I conveyed a force THROUGH my arm to the chair. The question is... what medium conveys the force of gravity if I remove everything between myself and the Earth? (This was the question that H. G. Wells explored in his novel, "First Men in the Moon" and the mysterious substance, Cavorite, which blocked gravity.) Gravity has no apparent medium for conveying its force. Thus gravity cannot be blocked by blocking the medium. Scientists are still looking for the hypothetical "graviton" that conveys the force of gravity. They haven't found it yet. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

England Protects It's Trade and National Interests

England farmland is not being fully utilized so the Act for the Encouragement of Trade is made part of the Navigation Act. It requires all English ships to touch base in England regardless of their final destination. This allows England to monitor (and thus tax fully) all goods shipped in English bottoms (that is, English-flagged ships). All commodities such as sugar, rice, and tobacco must be unloaded before it is taxed and then reloaded to be shipped to its final destination. This adds a lot of time and and expense to all non-English goods shipped to the English colonies. This tends to make English goods the better buy by making foreign goods too expensive. This also encourages smuggling. [11] [12]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Oddly enough, making foreign goods and commodities more difficult to buy is a normal function of government. Aside from crass protectionism, it can serve the national interests by making sure that certain critical products are made in your own country. It would be wonderful if we could be a great big friendly family of nations, but nations don't have friends. They have interests and interests change over time. So if your country is counting on buying the production of another country for its critical needs... like say... parts for your missile defense system then you have sold your security to that other country. You had better remain very friendly to that other country or soon you won't have parts for your missiles, or diesel for your tanks, or food for your troops and civilians. Protecting critical industries is important to the survival of a nation. That is different from "Look for the Union Label" or "Buy American". Tariffs can force foreign car companies to relocate their factories to America and hire American workers, but tariffs also raise consumer prices. And they allow domestic businesses to remain lazy and not make hard choices (if that is their problem). [13]

Appeals to Science and God *

* Robert Hook discovers something he calls "cells" in cork. [14]
* English Parliament appeals to God to prevent a harsh winter. [15]
* Robert Boyle finds a scientific reason for the Thames freezing over: It's cold and the tide pushes ice to shore and it builds up bit by bit. [16]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1663, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Electropaedia History of Science and Technology, Development of Science, Technology and Inventions. Woodbank Communications (2015). Retrieved on 16 October 2015. “1660 English mathematician and astronomer, Richard Towneley together with his friend, physician Henry Power investigated the the expansion of air at different altitudes by enclosing a fixed mass of air in a Torricelli/Huygens U-tube with its open end immersed in a dish of mercury. They noted the expansion of the enclosed air at different altitudes on a hill near their home and concluded that gas pressure, the external atmospheric pressure of the air on the mercury, was inversely proportional to the volume.”
  2. THE SCIENCE BOOK - Big Ideas Simply Explained. slideshare.net (Apr 01, 2015). Retrieved on 16 October 2015. “Boyle’s law states that the pressure of a gas multiplied by its volume is a constant, as long as the amount of gas and the temperature are kept the same. In other words, if you decrease the volume of a gas, its pressure increases. It is this increased pressure that produces the spring of the air. You can feel this effect using a bicycle pump by covering the end with a finger and pushing the handle in. Although it bears his name, this law was first proposed not by Boyle, but by English scientists Richard Towneley and Henry Power, who performed a series of experiments with a Torricelli barometer and published their results in 1663. Boyle saw an early draft of the book and discussed the results with Towneley.”
  3. Boyle's law - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 14 October 2015. “Boyle's law (sometimes referred to as the Boyle–Mariotte law, or Mariotte's law) is an experimental gas law which describes how the pressure of a gas tends to decrease as the volume of a gas increases. A modern statement of Boyle's law is, "The absolute pressure exerted by a given mass of an ideal gas is inversely proportional to the volume it occupies if the temperature and amount of gas remain unchanged within a closed system."”
  4. Richard Towneley - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 16 October 2015. “Power eventually published the results in his book Experimental Philosophy in 1663 but an early draft was seen by Robert Boyle in 1661 and it seems Towneley also discussed the experiments with Boyle when he visited London in the winter of 1661–62. Later in 1662, Boyle was able to publish what is now known as Boyle's Law, but what he referred to as Mr Towneley's hypothesis.”
  5. Graviton - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 16 October 2015. “In physics, the graviton is a hypothetical elementary particle that mediates the force of gravitation in the framework of quantum field theory. If it exists, the graviton is expected to be massless (because the gravitational force appears to have unlimited range) and must be a spin-2 boson.”
  6. What is Boyle's Law?. wisegeek.org (2015). Retrieved on 16 October 2015. “A different example is a syringe for taking blood. An empty syringe has a fixed amount of gas (air) in it; if the plunger is drawn back without the needle end being inserted into anything, the volume of the tube will increase and the pressure will drop, causing more air to move into the tube to equalize the pressure. If the syringe is inserted into a vein and the plunger drawn back, blood will flow into the tube since the pressure in the vein is higher than the pressure in the syringe.”
  7. What Is Boyle's Law? How Does It Apply to Scuba Diving?. About.com (2015). Retrieved on 16 October 2015. “One of the fantastic consequences of enrolling in a recreational scuba diving course is being able to learn some basic physics concepts and apply them to the underwater environment. Boyle's law is one of these concepts.”
  8. Christiaan Huygens - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 16 October 2015. “Newton's influence on John Locke was mediated by Huygens, who assured Locke that Newton's mathematics was sound, leading to Locke's acceptance of a 'corpuscular-mechanical' physics.”
  9. The First Men in the Moon. Gutenberg.org (1901). Retrieved on 16 October 2015. “Now all known substances are 'transparent' to gravitation. You can use screens of various sorts to cut off the light or heat, or electrical influence of the sun, or the warmth of the earth from anything; you can screen things by sheets of metal from Marconi's rays, but nothing will cut off the gravitational attraction of the sun or the gravitational attraction of the earth. Yet why there should be nothing is hard to say. Cavor did not see why such a substance should not exist, and certainly I could not tell him. I had never thought of such a possibility before. He showed me by calculations on paper, which Lord Kelvin, no doubt, or Professor Lodge, or Professor Karl Pearson, or any of those great scientific people might have understood, but which simply reduced me to a hopeless muddle, that not only was such a substance possible, but that it must satisfy certain conditions. It was an amazing piece of reasoning.”
  10. Alex Shrugged notes: Magnetism is another force that seems to have no medium although it is linked to electricity and thus electrons. I didn't mention it here, even though magnetism is also not blocked by a vacuum, because it can be blocked by other means. Gravity cannot and I didn't want to confuse the issue by discussing magnetism.
  11. Cornelius Walford (March 1879). "The Famines of the World: Past and Present-Part II.". Journal of the Statistical Society of London (Wiley for the Royal Statistical Society) 42 (1): 137-138. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2338989. "By 15 Car. II, cap. 7--" An Act for the encouragement of Trade" -- it is recited:-- " Forasmuch as the encouragement of tillage ought to be in an especial manner regarded and endeavoured; and the surest and effectual means of promotinig and advanicing any trade, occupation or mystery, being by rendering it profitable to the users thereof; (2) and great quantities of land within this kilngdom for the present lying in a manner waste, and yielding little, which might thereby be improved to considerable profit and advantage (if sufficient encouirage- ment were given for the laying out cost and labour on the samie), and thereby much more corn produced, great numbers of people, horses and cattle em-ploved, and other lands also rendered more valuable." And it is theln enacted that when the price of wheat did not exceecd at the place from which it was to be exported 48s. per quarter Winchester measure, barlev or malt 28s., buckwheat 28s., oats I 3s. 4d., rye 32s., peas or beans 32S. of English money, then the same mnight be exported to places beyond the seas. And when the prices did not exceed those named at the place of import, there might be imported wheat upon paying a customs duty of 5S. 4d., rye 4.8., barley or malt 2s. 8d., buckwheat 2S., oats is. 4d., and peas or beans 4s. And it was further enacted, that when the prices of corn or grain, Winchester measure, did not exceed the rates abo-ve stated at the markets, havens, or places where the same should be bouight, that then it should " be lawful for all and every person and persons (not forestalling nor selling the same in the same market within three months after the buying thereof) to buy in open market, and to lay up and keep in his or their granaries or houses, and to sell a_ain, such corn or grain of the kinds aforesaid as without fraud or covin shall have been bought at or under the price before expressed, with- out incurring any penalty; any law, statute or usage to the contrary notwithstanding." By this Act it is recited:-- " XIII. Whereas a great part of the richest and best land of this kingdom is and cannot so well 'be otherwise employed and made use of as in the feeding anid fatteniing of cattle, and that of the coming in of late of vast numbers of cattle already fatted, such lands are in malny places much fallen, and likely daily to fall more in their rents and values, and in consequence other lands also, to the great pre- judice, detrimenit, and impoverishment of this kingdom." " And it is thus enacted, That for every head of great cattle (except such as are of the breed of Scotland) that shall be imported and brought into England, Wales, or the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed after the 1st day of July and before the 20th day of December in anv year; and for every head of great cattle of the breed of Scotland that shall be imported or brought iilto England, Fales, or the town of Berwick after the 24th August and before the 20th December in any year, there shall be paid to his majesty, his heirs and successors, the sum of 20s., and the sum of ioS. to him or them that shall inform and seize the same." For every sheep so imported there was to be paid the sum of IoS. The Act, so far as it related to cattle and sheep, was not to come into force before the 1st July, 1664, nor to continue longer than the end of the first session of the next parliament. (See 1665) . Section 18 of this Act is as follows:-" Provided also and be it enacted that it shall and may be lawful to import catle of the breed of the Isle of Man not exceeding 6oo in any one year. And corne of the growth of that island out of that island into England, soe as the said catle be landed at Chester, Liverpoole, or Wirewater, anything in this Act to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding." Adam Smith observed of this measure, that witlh all its inmper- fections, it had done more to promote plenty than any other law in the statute book.". 
  12. Navigation Acts - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 16 October 2015. “The Navigation Act 1663 (also called the Act for the Encouragement of Trade, passed on 27 July) required all European goods bound for America (or other colonies) to be shipped through England first.[7] In England, the goods would be unloaded, inspected, paid duties, approved, and finally reloaded. The trade had to be carried in English bottoms (i.e. vessels), which included those of its colonies. Furthermore, imports of 'enumerated commodities' (such as sugar, rice, and tobacco) had to be landed and pay tax before going on to other countries. This increased the cost to the colonies, and increased the shipping time. 'England' here includes Wales, though it was little involved in trade to distant parts.”
  13. Buy American Act - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 18 October 2015. “The Buy American Act is not to be confused with the very similarly named Buy America Act, which came into effect in 1983. The latter, a provision of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982, is 49 U.S.C., § 5323 (j), and applies only to mass-transit-related procurements valued over US$100,000 and funded at least in part by federal grants.”
  14. (November 23, 1664) "Observ. XVIII. Of the Schematisme or Texture of Cork, and of the Cells and Pores of some other such frothy Bodies", Micrographia: or some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies made by Magnifying Glasses with Observations and Inquiries thereupon. Retrieved on 18 October 2015. “Next, in that these pores, or cells, were not very deep, but consisted of a great many little Boxes, separated out of one continued long pore, by certain Diaphragms, as is visible by the Figure B, which represents a sight of those pores split the long-ways.” 
  15. 1663 - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 18 October 2015. “Concerned about the wintry weather, the Parliament of England holds an intercessary fast.”
  16. Joseph P. Ward (March 2008). "The Taming of the Thames: Reading the River in the Seventeenth Century". Huntington Library Quarterly (University of California Press) 71 (1): 55-75. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/hlq.2008.71.1.55.. Retrieved October 18, 2015. "...the Tide flowing in, and meeting with great flakes of ice, drove them to the banks, and lodged them on the ice there frozen, which flakes uniting there with the former ice, raised it to that excessive height or thickness.". 

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