Boyle returned to England from the Continent in mid 1644 with a keen interest in science.<ref>See biographies of Robert Boyle at [http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=522], [http://www.woodrow.org/teachers/ci/1992/Boyle.html], [http://www-gap.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Boyle.html] and [http://books.google.ie/books?id=fjDXtalPeesC&pg=PT24&lpg=PT24&dq=+minority+%22robert+boyle%22+continent&source=web&ots=0GoWnMtkTE&sig=w5L_P2i0E6hYobZE7vm9LffWYN4&hl=en] .</ref> His father had died the previous year and had left him the manor of [[Stalbridge]] in [[Dorset]], together with some estates in Ireland. From that time, he devoted his life to [[science|scientific]] research, and soon took a prominent place in the band of inquirers, known as the "[[Invisible College]]", who devoted themselves to the cultivation of the "new philosophy". They met frequently in London, often at [[Gresham College]]; some of the members also had meetings at [[Oxford]] where Boyle went to reside in 1654. Reading in 1657 of [[Otto von Guericke]]'s air-pump, he set himself with the assistance of [[Robert Hooke]] to devise improvements in its construction, and with the result, the "machina Boyleana" or "Pneumatical Engine", finished in 1659, he began a series of experiments on the properties of air.<ref name=acottLaw/> An inscription can be found on the wall of [[University College, Oxford]] the [[High Street, Oxford|High Street]] at [[Oxford]] (now the location of the [[Shelley Memorial]]), marking the spot where Cross Hall stood until the early 1800s. It was here that Boyle rented rooms from the wealthy apothecary who owned the Hall.