Robert Hooke
Overview
 
Robert Hooke FRS  was an English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 natural philosopher, architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

 and polymath
Polymath
A polymath is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. In less formal terms, a polymath may simply be someone who is very knowledgeable...

.

His adult life comprised three distinct periods: as a scientific inquirer lacking money; achieving great wealth and standing through his reputation for hard work and scrupulous honesty following the great fire of 1666
Great Fire of London
The Great Fire of London was a major conflagration that swept through the central parts of the English city of London, from Sunday, 2 September to Wednesday, 5 September 1666. The fire gutted the medieval City of London inside the old Roman City Wall...

, but eventually becoming ill and party to jealous intellectual disputes. These issues may have contributed to his relative historical obscurity.

He was at one time simultaneously the curator of experiments of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 and a member of its council, Gresham Professor of Geometry
Gresham Professor of Geometry
The Professor of Geometry at Gresham College, London, gives free educational lectures to the general public. The college was founded for this purpose in 1596 / 7, when it appointed seven professors; this has since increased to eight and in addition the college now has visiting professors.The...

 and a Surveyor to the City of London after the Great Fire of London, in which capacity he appears to have performed more than half of all the surveys after the fire.
Encyclopedia
Robert Hooke FRS  was an English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 natural philosopher, architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

 and polymath
Polymath
A polymath is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. In less formal terms, a polymath may simply be someone who is very knowledgeable...

.

His adult life comprised three distinct periods: as a scientific inquirer lacking money; achieving great wealth and standing through his reputation for hard work and scrupulous honesty following the great fire of 1666
Great Fire of London
The Great Fire of London was a major conflagration that swept through the central parts of the English city of London, from Sunday, 2 September to Wednesday, 5 September 1666. The fire gutted the medieval City of London inside the old Roman City Wall...

, but eventually becoming ill and party to jealous intellectual disputes. These issues may have contributed to his relative historical obscurity.

He was at one time simultaneously the curator of experiments of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 and a member of its council, Gresham Professor of Geometry
Gresham Professor of Geometry
The Professor of Geometry at Gresham College, London, gives free educational lectures to the general public. The college was founded for this purpose in 1596 / 7, when it appointed seven professors; this has since increased to eight and in addition the college now has visiting professors.The...

 and a Surveyor to the City of London after the Great Fire of London, in which capacity he appears to have performed more than half of all the surveys after the fire. He was also an important architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

 of his time, though few of his buildings now survive and some of those are generally misattributed, and was instrumental in devising a set of planning controls for London whose influence remains today. Allan Chapman has characterised him as "England's Leonardo
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

".

Hooke studied at Wadham College during the Protectorate
The Protectorate
In British history, the Protectorate was the period 1653–1659 during which the Commonwealth of England was governed by a Lord Protector.-Background:...

 where he became one of a tightly knit group of ardent Royalist
Royalist
A royalist supports a particular monarch as head of state for a particular kingdom, or of a particular dynastic claim. In the abstract, this position is royalism. It is distinct from monarchism, which advocates a monarchical system of government, but not necessarily a particular monarch...

s centred around John Wilkins
John Wilkins
John Wilkins FRS was an English clergyman, natural philosopher and author, as well as a founder of the Invisible College and one of the founders of the Royal Society, and Bishop of Chester from 1668 until his death....

. Here he was employed as an assistant to Thomas Willis
Thomas Willis
Thomas Willis was an English doctor who played an important part in the history of anatomy, neurology and psychiatry. He was a founding member of the Royal Society.-Life:...

 and to Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle FRS was a 17th century natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor, also noted for his writings in theology. He has been variously described as English, Irish, or Anglo-Irish, his father having come to Ireland from England during the time of the English plantations of...

, for whom he built the vacuum pumps used in Boyle's gas law experiments. He built some of the earliest Gregorian telescope
Gregorian telescope
The Gregorian telescope is a type of reflecting telescope designed by Scottish mathematician and astronomer James Gregory in the 17th century, and first built in 1673 by Robert Hooke...

s, observed the rotations of Mars and Jupiter and, based on his observations of fossils, was an early proponent of biological evolution. He investigated the phenomenon of refraction
Refraction
Refraction is the change in direction of a wave due to a change in its speed. It is essentially a surface phenomenon . The phenomenon is mainly in governance to the law of conservation of energy. The proper explanation would be that due to change of medium, the phase velocity of the wave is changed...

, deducing the wave theory of light, and was the first to suggest that matter expands when heated and that air is made of small particles separated by relatively large distances. He performed pioneering work in the field of surveying and map-making and was involved in the work that led to the first modern plan-form map, though his plan for London on a grid system was rejected in favour of rebuilding along the existing routes. He also came near to deducing that gravity follows an inverse square law, and that such a relation governs the motions of the planets, an idea which was subsequently developed by Newton. Much of Hooke's scientific work was conducted in his capacity as curator of experiments of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

, a post he held from 1662, or as part of the household of Robert Boyle.

Life and works

Much of what is known of Hooke's early life comes from an autobiography that he commenced in 1696, but was not completed. This was referenced by Richard Waller in his introduction to The Posthumous Works of Robert Hooke, M.D. S.R.S., printed in 1705. The work of Waller, along with John Ward
John Ward (academic)
John Ward was an English teacher, supporter of learned societies, and biographer, remembered for his work on the Gresham College professors, of which he was one.-Life:...

's Lives of the Gresham Professors and John Aubrey
John Aubrey
John Aubrey FRS, was an English antiquary, natural philosopher and writer. He is perhaps best known as the author of the collection of short biographical pieces usually referred to as Brief Lives...

's Brief Lives, form the major near-contemporaneous biographical accounts of Hooke.

Early life

Robert Hooke was born in 1635 in Freshwater
Freshwater, Isle of Wight
Freshwater is a large village and civil parish at the western end of the Isle of Wight, England. Freshwater Bay is a small cove on the south coast of the Island which also gives its name to the nearby part of Freshwater....

 on the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is a county and the largest island of England, located in the English Channel, on average about 2–4 miles off the south coast of the county of Hampshire, separated from the mainland by a strait called the Solent...

 to John Hooke and Cecily Gyles. Robert was the last of four children, two boys and two girls, and there was an age difference of seven years between him and the next youngest. Their father John was a Church of England priest, the curate of Freshwater's Church of All Saints
All Saints' Church, Freshwater
All Saints' Church, Freshwater is a parish church in the Church of England located in Freshwater, Isle of Wight.-History:The church is medieval. is one of the oldest churches on the Isle of Wight, and was listed in the Domesday survey of 1086. Mark Whatson is the pastor of All Saints, which is an...

, and his two brothers (Robert's uncles) were also ministers. Robert Hooke was expected to succeed in his education and join the Church. John Hooke also was in charge of a local school, and so was able to teach Robert, at least partly at home perhaps due to the boy's frail health. He was a Royalist and almost certainly a member of a group who went to pay their respects to Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 when he escaped to the Isle of Wight. Robert, too, grew up to be a staunch monarchist.

As a youth, Robert Hooke was fascinated by observation, mechanical works, and drawing, interests that he would pursue in various ways throughout his life. He dismantled a brass clock and built a wooden replica that, by all accounts, worked "well enough", and he learned to draw, making his own materials from coal, chalk and ruddle (Iron ore).

On his father's death in 1648, Robert was left a sum of forty pounds that enabled him to buy an apprenticeship; with his poor health throughout his life but evident mechanical facility his father had it in mind that he might become a watchmaker
Watchmaker
A watchmaker is an artisan who makes and repairs watches. Since virtually all watches are now factory made, most modern watchmakers solely repair watches. However, originally they were master craftsmen who built watches, including all their parts, by hand...

 or limner
Limner
A limner is an illuminator of manuscripts, or more generally, a painter of ornamental decoration. One of the earliest mentions of a limner's work is found in the book Methods and Materials of Painting by Charles Lock Eastlake .-Scotland:...

, though Hooke was also interested in painting. Hooke was an apt student, so although he went to London to take up an apprenticeship, and studied briefly with Samuel Cowper and Peter Lely
Peter Lely
Sir Peter Lely was a painter of Dutch origin, whose career was nearly all spent in England, where he became the dominant portrait painter to the court.-Life:...

, he was soon able to enter Westminster School
Westminster School
The Royal College of St. Peter in Westminster, almost always known as Westminster School, is one of Britain's leading independent schools, with the highest Oxford and Cambridge acceptance rate of any secondary school or college in Britain...

 in London, under Dr. Busby
Richard Busby
The Rev. Dr. Richard Busby was an English Anglican priest who served as head master of Westminster School for more than fifty-five years.-Life:...

. Hooke quickly mastered Latin and Greek, made some study of Hebrew, and mastered Euclid's Elements
Euclid's Elements
Euclid's Elements is a mathematical and geometric treatise consisting of 13 books written by the Greek mathematician Euclid in Alexandria c. 300 BC. It is a collection of definitions, postulates , propositions , and mathematical proofs of the propositions...

. Here, too, he embarked on his life-long study of mechanics
Mechanics
Mechanics is the branch of physics concerned with the behavior of physical bodies when subjected to forces or displacements, and the subsequent effects of the bodies on their environment....

.

It appears that Hooke was one of a group of students whom Busby educated in parallel to the main work of the school. Contemporary accounts say he was "not much seen" in the school, and this appears to be true of others in a similar position. Busby, an ardent and outspoken Royalist (he had the school observe a fast-day on the anniversary of the King's beheading), was by all accounts trying to preserve the nascent spirit of scientific inquiry that had begun to flourish in Carolean England but which was at odds with the literal Biblical teachings of the Protectorate. To Busby and his select students the Anglican Church was a framework to support the spirit of inquiry into God's work, those who were able were destined by God to explore and study His creation, and the priesthood functioned as teachers to explain it to those who were less able. This was exemplified in the person of George Hooper
George Hooper
George Hooper was a learned and influential high churchman of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. He served as bishop of the Welsh diocese, St Asaph, and later for the diocese of Bath and Wells, as well as chaplain to members of the royal family.-Early life:George Hooper was born...

, the Bishop of Bath and Wells
Bishop of Bath and Wells
The Bishop of Bath and Wells heads the Church of England Diocese of Bath and Wells in the Province of Canterbury in England.The present diocese covers the vast majority of the county of Somerset and a small area of Dorset. The Episcopal seat is located in the Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew in...

, whom Busby described as "the best scholar, the finest gentleman and will make the completest bishop that ever was educated at Westminster School".

Oxford

In 1653, Hooke (who had also undertaken a course of twenty lessons on the organ
Pipe organ
The pipe organ is a musical instrument that produces sound by driving pressurized air through pipes selected via a keyboard. Because each organ pipe produces a single pitch, the pipes are provided in sets called ranks, each of which has a common timbre and volume throughout the keyboard compass...

) secured a chorister's place at Christ Church
Christ Church, Oxford
Christ Church or house of Christ, and thus sometimes known as The House), is one of the largest constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England...

, Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

. He was employed as a "chemical assistant" to Dr Thomas Willis
Thomas Willis
Thomas Willis was an English doctor who played an important part in the history of anatomy, neurology and psychiatry. He was a founding member of the Royal Society.-Life:...

, for whom Hooke developed a great admiration. There he met the natural philosopher Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle FRS was a 17th century natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor, also noted for his writings in theology. He has been variously described as English, Irish, or Anglo-Irish, his father having come to Ireland from England during the time of the English plantations of...

, and gained employment as his assistant from about 1655 to 1662, constructing, operating, and demonstrating Boyle's "machina Boyleana" or air pump. He did not take his Master of Arts until 1662 or 1663. In 1659 Hooke described some elements of a method of heavier-than-air flight to Wilkins, but concluded that human muscles were insufficient to the task.

Hooke himself characterised his Oxford days as the foundation of his life-long passion for science, and the friends he made there were of paramount importance to him throughout his career, particularly Christopher Wren
Christopher Wren
Sir Christopher Wren FRS is one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history.He used to be accorded responsibility for rebuilding 51 churches in the City of London after the Great Fire in 1666, including his masterpiece, St. Paul's Cathedral, on Ludgate Hill, completed in 1710...

. Wadham was then under the guidance of John Wilkins
John Wilkins
John Wilkins FRS was an English clergyman, natural philosopher and author, as well as a founder of the Invisible College and one of the founders of the Royal Society, and Bishop of Chester from 1668 until his death....

, who had a profound impact on Hooke and those around him. Wilkins was also a Royalist, and acutely conscious of the turmoil and uncertainty of the times. There was a sense of urgency in preserving the scientific work which they perceived as being threatened by the Protectorate. Wilkins' "philosophical meetings" in his study were clearly important, though few records survive except for the experiments Boyle conducted in 1658 and published in 1660. This group went on to form the nucleus of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

. Hooke developed an air pump for Boyle's experiments based on the pump of Ralph Greatorex
Ralph Greatorex
Ralph Greatorex , was a mathematical instrument maker. He was an apprentice of London clockmaker Elias Allen.Greatorex is mentioned in John Aubrey's Brief Lives as a great friend of William Oughtred the mathematician. He is also briefly referred to in Aubrey's 'Natural History of Wilts', and in the...

, which was considered, in Hooke's words, "too gross to perform any great matter."

It is known that Hooke had a particularly keen eye, and was an adept mathematician, neither of which applied to Boyle. Gunther suggests that Hooke probably made the observations and may well have developed the mathematics of Boyle's Law
Boyle's law
Boyle's law is one of many gas laws and a special case of the ideal gas law. Boyle's law describes the inversely proportional relationship between the absolute pressure and volume of a gas, if the temperature is kept constant within a closed system...

. Regardless, it is clear that Hooke was a valued assistant to Boyle and the two retained a mutual high regard.

A chance surviving copy of Willis' pioneering De anima brutorum, a gift the author, was chosen by Hooke from Wilkins' library on his death as a memento at John Tillotson
John Tillotson
John Tillotson was an Archbishop of Canterbury .-Curate and rector:Tillotson was the son of a Puritan clothier at Haughend, Sowerby, Yorkshire. He entered as a pensioner of Clare Hall, Cambridge, in 1647, graduated in 1650 and was made fellow of his college in 1651...

's invitation. This book is now in the Wellcome Library
Wellcome Library
The Wellcome Library is founded on the collection formed by Sir Henry Wellcome , whose personal wealth allowed him to create one of the most ambitious collections of the 20th century. Henry Wellcome's interest was the history of medicine in a broad sense and included subjects like alchemy or...

. The book and its inscription in Hooke's hand are a testament to the lasting influence of Wilkins and his circle on the young Hooke.

Watch Balance Spring

In 1655, according to his autobiographical notes, Hooke began to acquaint himself with astronomy, through the good offices of John Ward. Hooke applied himself to the improvement of the pendulum
Pendulum
A pendulum is a weight suspended from a pivot so that it can swing freely. When a pendulum is displaced from its resting equilibrium position, it is subject to a restoring force due to gravity that will accelerate it back toward the equilibrium position...

 and in 1657 or 1658, he began to improve on pendulum mechanisms, studying the work of Riccioli, and going on to study both gravitation and the mechanics of timekeeping. Hooke recorded that he conceived of a way to determine longitude
Longitude
Longitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the east-west position of a point on the Earth's surface. It is an angular measurement, usually expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds, and denoted by the Greek letter lambda ....

 (then a critical problem for navigation), and with the help of Boyle and others he attempted to patent it. In the process, Hooke demonstrated a pocket-watch of his own devising, fitted with a coil spring
Coil spring
A Coil spring, also known as a helical spring, is a mechanical device, which is typically used to store energy and subsequently release it, to absorb shock, or to maintain a force between contacting surfaces...

 attached to the arbour of the balance. Hooke's ultimate failure to secure sufficiently lucrative terms for the exploitation of this idea resulted in its being shelved, and evidently caused him to become more jealous of his inventions. There is substantial evidence to state with reasonable confidence, as Ward, Aubrey
Aubrey
Of French origin, Aubrey results from the phonetical mutation of Alberic, which is a Germanic given name, meaning "Fair Ruler of the Little People", or "King of the Elves". The name Alberich is the German variant...

, Waller and others all do, that Hooke developed the balance spring
Balance spring
A balance spring, or hairspring, is a part used in mechanical timepieces. The balance spring, attached to the balance wheel, controls the speed at which the wheels of the timepiece turn, and thus the rate of movement of the hands...

 independently of and some fifteen years before Huygens
Huygens
Huygens is a Dutch patronymic surname, meaning "son of Hugo". People with the name Huygens include:People* Constantijn Huygens , Dutch poet and composer...

, who published his own work in Journal de Scavans in February of 1675. Henry Sully, writing in Paris in 1717, described the anchor escapement
Anchor escapement
In horology, the recoil or anchor escapement is a type of escapement used in pendulum clocks. An escapement is the mechanism in a mechanical clock that maintains the swing of the pendulum and allows the clock's wheels to advance a fixed amount with each swing, moving the hands forward...

 as "an admirable invention of which Dr. Hooke, formerly professor of geometry in Gresham College at London, was the inventor." Derham
William Derham
William Derham was an English clergyman and natural philosopher. He produced the earliest, reasonably accurate estimate of the speed of sound.-Life:...

 also attributes it to Hooke.

Royal Society

The Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 was founded in 1660, and in April 1661 the society debated a short tract on the rising of water in slender glass pipes, in which Hooke reported that the height water rose was related to the bore of the pipe (due to what is now termed capillary action
Capillary action
Capillary action, or capilarity, is the ability of a liquid to flow against gravity where liquid spontanously rise in a narrow space such as between the hair of a paint-brush, in a thin tube, or in porous material such as paper or in some non-porous material such as liquified carbon fiber, or in a...

). His explanation of this phenomenon was subsequently published in Micrography Observ. issue 6, in which he also explored the nature of "the fluidity of gravity". On 5 November 1661, Sir Robert Moray
Robert Moray
Sir Robert Moray was a Scottish soldier, statesman, diplomat, judge, spy, freemason and natural philosopher. He was well known to Charles I and Charles II, and the French cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin...

 proposed that a Curator be appointed to furnish the society with Experiments, and this was unanimously passed with Hooke being named. His appointment was made on 12 November, with thanks recorded to Dr. Boyle for releasing him to the Society's employment.

In 1664, Sir John Cutler settled an annual gratuity of fifty pounds on the Society for the founding of a Mechanick Lecture, and the Fellows appointed Hooke to this task. On 27 June 1664 he was confirmed to the office, and on 11 January 1665 was named Curator by Office for life with an additional salary of £30 to Cutler's annuity.

Hooke's role at the Royal Society was to demonstrate experiments from his own methods or at the suggestion of members. Among his earliest demonstrations were discussions of the nature of air, the implosion of glass bubbles which had been sealed with comprehensive hot air, and demonstrating that the Pabulum vitae and flammae were one and the same. He also demonstrated that a dog could be kept alive with its thorax opened, provided air was pumped in and out of its lungs, and noting the difference between venous and arterial blood
Blood
Blood is a specialized bodily fluid in animals that delivers necessary substances such as nutrients and oxygen to the cells and transports metabolic waste products away from those same cells....

. There were also experiments on the subject of gravity, the falling of objects, the weighing of bodies and measuring of barometric pressure at different heights, and pendulum
Pendulum
A pendulum is a weight suspended from a pivot so that it can swing freely. When a pendulum is displaced from its resting equilibrium position, it is subject to a restoring force due to gravity that will accelerate it back toward the equilibrium position...

s up to 200 ft (61 m).

Instruments were devised to measure a second of arc in the movement of the sun or other stars, to measure the strength of gunpowder
Gunpowder
Gunpowder, also known since in the late 19th century as black powder, was the first chemical explosive and the only one known until the mid 1800s. It is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate - with the sulfur and charcoal acting as fuels, while the saltpeter works as an oxidizer...

, and in particular an engine to cut teeth for watches, much finer than could be managed by hand, an invention which was, by Hooke's death, in constant use.

In 1663 and 1664, Hooke produced his microscopic
Microscopic
The microscopic scale is the scale of size or length used to describe objects smaller than those that can easily be seen by the naked eye and which require a lens or microscope to see them clearly.-History:...

al observations, subsequently collated in Micrographia
Micrographia
Micrographia is a historic book by Robert Hooke, detailing the then thirty year-old Hooke's observations through various lenses. Published in September 1665, the first major publication of the Royal Society, it was the first scientific best-seller, inspiring a wide public interest in the new...

 in 1665.

On 20 March 1664, Hooke succeeded Arthur Dacres as Gresham Professor of Geometry
Gresham Professor of Geometry
The Professor of Geometry at Gresham College, London, gives free educational lectures to the general public. The college was founded for this purpose in 1596 / 7, when it appointed seven professors; this has since increased to eight and in addition the college now has visiting professors.The...

. Hooke received the degree of "Doctor of Physic" in December 1691.

Personality and disputes

Hooke was irascible, at least in later life, proud, and prone to take umbrage with intellectual competitors, though he was by all accounts also a staunch friend and ally and was loyal always to the circle of ardent Royalist
Royalist
A royalist supports a particular monarch as head of state for a particular kingdom, or of a particular dynastic claim. In the abstract, this position is royalism. It is distinct from monarchism, which advocates a monarchical system of government, but not necessarily a particular monarch...

s with whom he had his early training at Wadham College, particularly Christopher Wren
Christopher Wren
Sir Christopher Wren FRS is one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history.He used to be accorded responsibility for rebuilding 51 churches in the City of London after the Great Fire in 1666, including his masterpiece, St. Paul's Cathedral, on Ludgate Hill, completed in 1710...

. His reputation suffered after his death and this is popularly attributed to a dispute with Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

 over credit for his work on gravitation, the planets and to a lesser degree light. His dispute with Oldenburg
Henry Oldenburg
Henry Oldenburg was a German theologian known as a diplomat and a natural philosopher. He was one of the foremost intelligencers of Europe of the seventeenth century, with a network of correspondents to rival those of Fabri de Peiresc, Marin Mersenne and Ismaël Boulliau...

 over credit for the watch escapement is another well-known example. Newton, as President of the Royal Society, did much to obscure Hooke, including, it is said, destroying (or failing to preserve) the only known portrait of the man. It did not help that the first life of Wren, Parentalis, was written by Wren's son, and tended to exaggerate Wren's work over all others. Hooke's reputation was revived during the twentieth century through studies of Robert Gunther
Robert Gunther
Robert Theodore Gunther was a historian of science, zoologist, and founder of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford....

 and Margaret Espinasse. After a long period of relative obscurity he has now been recognized as one of the most important scientists of his age.

He was apt to use ciphers and guard his ideas. As curator of Experiments to the Royal Society he was responsible for demonstrating many ideas sent in to the Society, and there is evidence that he would subsequently assume some credit for these ideas. Hooke also was immensely busy and thus unable – or in some cases unwilling, pending a way of profiting from the enterprise via letters patent – to develop all of his own ideas. This was a time of immense scientific progress, and numerous ideas were developed in several places simultaneously.

None of this should distract from Hooke's inventiveness, his remarkable experimental facility, and his capacity for hard work. His ideas about gravitation, and his claim of priority for the inverse square law, are outlined below. He was granted a large number of patents for inventions and refinements in the fields of elasticity, optics, and barometry. The Royal Society's Hooke papers (recently discovered after disappearing when Newton took over) will open up a modern reassessment.

Much has been written about the unpleasant side of Hooke's personality, starting with comments by his first biographer, Richard Waller, that Hooke was "in person, but despicable" and "melancholy, mistrustful, and jealous." Waller's comments influenced other writers for well over two centuries, so that a picture of Hooke as a disgruntled, selfish, anti-social curmudgeon dominates many older books and articles. For example, Arthur Berry said that Hooke "claimed credit for most of the scientific discoveries of the time." Sullivan wrote that Hooke was "positively unscrupulous" and possessing an "uneasy apprehensive vanity" in dealings with Newton. Manuel used the phrase "cantankerous, envious, vengeful" in his description. More described Hooke having both a "cynical temperament" and a "caustic tongue." Andrade was more sympathetic, but still used the adjectives "difficult", "suspicious", and "irritable" in describing Hooke.

The publication of Hooke's diary in 1935 revealed other sides of the man that 'Espinasse, in particular, has detailed carefully. She writes that "the picture which is usually painted of Hooke as a morose and envious recluse is completely false.". Hooke interacted with noted craftsmen such as Thomas Tompion
Thomas Tompion
Thomas Tompion was an English clock maker, watchmaker and mechanician who is still regarded to this day as the Father of English Clockmaking. Tompion's work includes some of the most historic and important clocks and watches in the world and can command very high prices whenever outstanding...

, the clockmaker, and Christopher Cocks (Cox), an instrument maker. Hooke often met Christopher Wren
Christopher Wren
Sir Christopher Wren FRS is one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history.He used to be accorded responsibility for rebuilding 51 churches in the City of London after the Great Fire in 1666, including his masterpiece, St. Paul's Cathedral, on Ludgate Hill, completed in 1710...

, with whom he shared many interests, and had a lasting friendship with John Aubrey
John Aubrey
John Aubrey FRS, was an English antiquary, natural philosopher and writer. He is perhaps best known as the author of the collection of short biographical pieces usually referred to as Brief Lives...

. Hooke's diaries also make frequent reference to meetings at coffeehouses and taverns, and to dinners with Robert Boyle. He took tea on many occasions with his lab assistant, Harry Hunt. Within his family, Hooke took both a niece and a cousin into his home, teaching them mathematics.

Robert Hooke spent his life largely on the Isle of Wight, at Oxford, and in London. He never married, but his diary shows that he was not without affections, and more, for others. On 3 March 1703, Hooke died in London, having amassed a sizable sum of money, which was found in his room at Gresham College. He was buried at St Helen's Bishopsgate
St Helen's Bishopsgate
St Helen's Bishopsgate is a large conservative evangelical Anglican church, in Lime Street ward, in the City of London, close to the Lloyd's building and the 'Gherkin'.-History:...

, but the precise location of his grave is unknown.

Mechanics

In 1660, Hooke discovered the law
Hooke's law
In mechanics, and physics, Hooke's law of elasticity is an approximation that states that the extension of a spring is in direct proportion with the load applied to it. Many materials obey this law as long as the load does not exceed the material's elastic limit. Materials for which Hooke's law...

 of elasticity
Elasticity (physics)
In physics, elasticity is the physical property of a material that returns to its original shape after the stress that made it deform or distort is removed. The relative amount of deformation is called the strain....

 which bears his name and which describes the linear variation of tension
Tension (mechanics)
In physics, tension is the magnitude of the pulling force exerted by a string, cable, chain, or similar object on another object. It is the opposite of compression. As tension is the magnitude of a force, it is measured in newtons and is always measured parallel to the string on which it applies...

 with extension in an elastic spring. He first described this discovery in the anagram "ceiiinosssttuv", whose solution he published in 1678 as "Ut tensio, sic vis" meaning "As the extension, so the force." Hooke's work on elasticity culminated, for practical purposes, in his development of the balance spring
Balance spring
A balance spring, or hairspring, is a part used in mechanical timepieces. The balance spring, attached to the balance wheel, controls the speed at which the wheels of the timepiece turn, and thus the rate of movement of the hands...

 or hairspring, which for the first time enabled a portable timepiece – a watch – to keep time with reasonable accuracy. A bitter dispute between Hooke and Christiaan Huygens on the priority of this invention was to continue for centuries after the death of both; but a note dated 23 June 1670 in the Hooke Folio (see External links below), describing a demonstration of a balance-controlled watch before the Royal Society, has been held to favour Hooke's claim.

It is interesting from a twentieth-century vantage point that Hooke first announced his law of elasticity as an anagram
Anagram
An anagram is a type of word play, the result of rearranging the letters of a word or phrase to produce a new word or phrase, using all the original letters exactly once; e.g., orchestra = carthorse, A decimal point = I'm a dot in place, Tom Marvolo Riddle = I am Lord Voldemort. Someone who...

. This was a method sometimes used by scientists, such as Hooke, Huygens, Galileo, and others, to establish priority for a discovery without revealing details.
Hooke became Curator of Experiments in 1662 to the newly founded Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

, and took responsibility for experiments performed at its weekly meetings. This was a position he held for over 40 years. While this position kept him in the thick of science in Britain and beyond, it also led to some heated arguments with other scientists, such as Huygens (see above) and particularly with Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

 and the Royal Society's Henry Oldenburg
Henry Oldenburg
Henry Oldenburg was a German theologian known as a diplomat and a natural philosopher. He was one of the foremost intelligencers of Europe of the seventeenth century, with a network of correspondents to rival those of Fabri de Peiresc, Marin Mersenne and Ismaël Boulliau...

. In 1664 Hooke also was appointed Professor of Geometry
Geometry
Geometry arose as the field of knowledge dealing with spatial relationships. Geometry was one of the two fields of pre-modern mathematics, the other being the study of numbers ....

 at Gresham College
Gresham College
Gresham College is an institution of higher learning located at Barnard's Inn Hall off Holborn in central London, England. It was founded in 1597 under the will of Sir Thomas Gresham and today it hosts over 140 free public lectures every year within the City of London.-History:Sir Thomas Gresham,...

 in London and Cutlerian Lecturer in Mechanics.

On 8 July 1680, Hooke observed the nodal patterns
Cymatics
Cymatics is the study of visible sound and vibration, a subset of modal phenomena. Typically the surface of a plate, diaphragm, or membrane is vibrated, and regions of maximum and minimum displacement are made visible in a thin coating of particles, paste, or liquid...

 associated with the modes of vibration
Normal mode
A normal mode of an oscillating system is a pattern of motion in which all parts of the system move sinusoidally with the same frequency and with a fixed phase relation. The frequencies of the normal modes of a system are known as its natural frequencies or resonant frequencies...

 of glass plates. He ran a bow along the edge of a glass plate covered with flour, and saw the nodal patterns emerge.

Gravitation

While many of his contemporaries believed in the aether as a medium for transmitting attraction or repulsion between separated celestial bodies, Hooke argued for an attracting principle of gravitation in Micrographia
Micrographia
Micrographia is a historic book by Robert Hooke, detailing the then thirty year-old Hooke's observations through various lenses. Published in September 1665, the first major publication of the Royal Society, it was the first scientific best-seller, inspiring a wide public interest in the new...

 of 1665. Hooke's 1666 Royal society lecture "On gravity" added two further principles – that all bodies move in straight lines till deflected by some force and that the attractive force is stronger for closer bodies. Dugald Stewart
Dugald Stewart
Dugald Stewart was a Scottish Enlightenment philosopher and mathematician. His father, Matthew Stewart , was professor of mathematics in the University of Edinburgh .-Life and works:...

, in his Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind, quoted Hooke's own words on his system of the world.
"I will explain," says Hooke, in a communication to the Royal Society in 1666, "a system of the world very different from any yet received. It is founded on the following positions. 1. That all the heavenly bodies have not only a gravitation of their parts to their own proper centre, but that they also mutually attract each other within their spheres of action. 2. That all bodies having a simple motion, will continue to move in a straight line, unless continually deflected from it by some extraneous force, causing them to describe a circle, an ellipse, or some other curve. 3. That this attraction is so much the greater as the bodies are nearer. As to the proportion in which those forces diminish by an increase of distance, I own I have not discovered it...."


Hooke's 1670 Gresham lecture explained that gravitation applied to "all celestial bodies" and added the principles that the gravitating power decreases with distance and that in the absence of any such power bodies move in straight lines.

Hooke published his ideas about the "System of the World" again in somewhat developed form in 1674, as an addition to "An Attempt to Prove the Motion of the Earth from Observations". Hooke clearly postulated mutual attractions between the Sun and planets, in a way that increased with nearness to the attracting body.

Hooke's statements up to 1674 made no mention, however, that an inverse square law applies or might apply to these attractions. Hooke's gravitation was also not yet universal, though it approached universality more closely than previous hypotheses. Hooke also did not provide accompanying evidence or mathematical demonstration. On these two aspects, Hooke stated in 1674: "Now what these several degrees [of gravitational attraction] are I have not yet experimentally verified" (indicating that he did not yet know what law the gravitation might follow); and as to his whole proposal: "This I only hint at present", "having my self many other things in hand which I would first compleat, and therefore cannot so well attend it" (i.e. "prosecuting this Inquiry").

In November 1679, Hooke initiated a remarkable exchange of letters with Newton (of which the full text is now published). Hooke's ostensible purpose was to tell Newton that Hooke had been appointed to manage the Royal Society's correspondence. Hooke therefore wanted to hear from members about their researches, or their views about the researches of others; and as if to whet Newton's interest, he asked what Newton thought about various matters, giving a whole list, mentioning "compounding the celestial motions of the planetts of a direct motion by the tangent and an attractive motion towards the central body", and "my hypothesis of the lawes or causes of springinesse", and then a new hypothesis from Paris about planetary motions (which Hooke described at length), and then efforts to carry out or improve national surveys, the difference of latitude between London and Cambridge, and other items. Newton's reply offered "a fansy of my own" about a terrestrial experiment (not a proposal about celestial motions) which might detect the Earth's motion, by the use of a body first suspended in air and then dropped to let it fall. The main point was to indicate how Newton thought the falling body could experimentally reveal the Earth's motion by its direction of deviation from the vertical, but he went on hypothetically to consider how its motion could continue if the solid Earth had not been in the way (on a spiral path to the centre). Hooke disagreed with Newton's idea of how the body would continue to move. A short further correspondence developed, and towards the end of it Hooke, writing on 6 January 1679|80 to Newton, communicated his "supposition ... that the Attraction always is in a duplicate proportion to the Distance from the Center Reciprocall, and Consequently that the Velocity will be in a subduplicate proportion to the Attraction and Consequently as Kepler Supposes Reciprocall to the Distance." (Hooke's inference about the velocity was actually incorrect)

In 1686, when the first book of Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

's 'Principia
Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica
Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Latin for "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy", often referred to as simply the Principia, is a work in three books by Sir Isaac Newton, first published 5 July 1687. Newton also published two further editions, in 1713 and 1726...

' was presented to the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

, Hooke claimed that Newton had had from him the "notion" of "the rule of the decrease of Gravity, being reciprocally as the squares of the distances from the Center". At the same time (according to Edmond Halley
Edmond Halley
Edmond Halley FRS was an English astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist who is best known for computing the orbit of the eponymous Halley's Comet. He was the second Astronomer Royal in Britain, following in the footsteps of John Flamsteed.-Biography and career:Halley...

's contemporary report) Hooke agreed that "the Demonstration of the Curves generated therby" was wholly Newton's.

A recent assessment about the early history of the inverse square law is that "by the late 1660s," the assumption of an "inverse proportion between gravity and the square of distance was rather common and had been advanced by a number of different people for different reasons". Newton himself had shown in the 1660s that for planetary motion under a circular assumption, force in the radial direction had an inverse-square relation with distance from the center. Newton, faced in May 1686 with Hooke's claim on the inverse square law, denied that Hooke was to be credited as author of the idea, giving reasons including the citation of prior work by others before Hooke. Newton also firmly claimed that even if it had happened that he had first heard of the inverse square proportion from Hooke, which it had not, he would still have some rights to it in view of his mathematical developments and demonstrations, which enabled observations to be relied on as evidence of its accuracy, while Hooke, without mathematical demonstrations and evidence in favour of the supposition, could only guess (according to Newton) that it was approximately valid "at great distances from the center".

On the other hand, Newton did accept and acknowledge, in all editions of the 'Principia', that Hooke (but not exclusively Hooke) had separately appreciated the inverse square law in the solar system. Newton acknowledged Wren, Hooke and Halley in this connection in the Scholium to Proposition 4 in Book 1. Newton also acknowledged to Halley that his correspondence with Hooke in 1679–80 had reawakened his dormant interest in astronomical matters, but that did not mean, according to Newton, that Hooke had told Newton anything new or original: "yet am I not beholden to him for any light into that business but only for the diversion he gave me from my other studies to think on these things & for his dogmaticalness in writing as if he had found the motion in the Ellipsis, which inclined me to try it."

One of the contrasts between the two men was that Newton was primarily a pioneer in mathematical analysis and its applications as well as optical experimentation, while Hooke was a creative experimenter of such great range, that it is not surprising to find that he left some of his ideas, such as those about gravitation, undeveloped. This in turn makes it understandable how in 1759, decades after the deaths of both Newton and Hooke, Alexis Clairaut, mathematical astronomer eminent in his own right in the field of gravitational studies, made his assessment after reviewing what Hooke had published on gravitation. "One must not think that this idea ... of Hooke diminishes Newton's glory", Clairaut wrote; "The example of Hooke" serves "to show what a distance there is between a truth that is glimpsed and a truth that is demonstrated".

Microscopy

In 1665 Hooke published Micrographia
Micrographia
Micrographia is a historic book by Robert Hooke, detailing the then thirty year-old Hooke's observations through various lenses. Published in September 1665, the first major publication of the Royal Society, it was the first scientific best-seller, inspiring a wide public interest in the new...

, a book describing microscopic
Microscope
A microscope is an instrument used to see objects that are too small for the naked eye. The science of investigating small objects using such an instrument is called microscopy...

 and telescopic
Telescope
A telescope is an instrument that aids in the observation of remote objects by collecting electromagnetic radiation . The first known practical telescopes were invented in the Netherlands at the beginning of the 1600s , using glass lenses...

 observations, and some original work in biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

. Hooke coined the term cell
Cell (biology)
The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of life that is classified as a living thing, and is often called the building block of life. The Alberts text discusses how the "cellular building blocks" move to shape developing embryos....

 for describing biological organisms, the term being suggested by the resemblance of plant cells to monks'
Monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

 cells. The hand-crafted, leather and gold-tooled microscope he used to make the observations for Micrographia, originally constructed by Christopher White in London, is on display at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, DC.

Micrographia also contains Hooke's, or perhaps Boyle and Hooke's, ideas on combustion. Hooke's experiments led him to conclude that combustion involves a substance that is mixed with air, a statement with which modern scientists would agree, but that was not widely understood, if at all, in the seventeenth century. Hooke went on to conclude that respiration also involves a specific component of the air. Partington even goes so far as to claim that if "Hooke had continued his experiments on combustion it is probable that he would have discovered oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

".

Palaeontology

One of the observations in Micrographia was of fossil wood
Petrified wood
Petrified wood is the name given to a special type of fossilized remains of terrestrial vegetation. It is the result of a tree having turned completely into stone by the process of permineralization...

, the microscopic structure of which he compared to ordinary wood. This led him to conclude that fossilized objects like petrified wood and fossil shells, such as Ammonites, were the remains of living things that had been soaked in petrifying water laden with minerals. Hooke believed that such fossils provided reliable clues to the past history of life on earth, and, despite the objections of contemporary naturalists like John Ray
John Ray
John Ray was an English naturalist, sometimes referred to as the father of English natural history. Until 1670, he wrote his name as John Wray. From then on, he used 'Ray', after "having ascertained that such had been the practice of his family before him".He published important works on botany,...

 who found the concept of extinction
Extinction
In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

 theologically unacceptable, that in some cases they might represent species that had become extinct through some geological disaster.

Astronomy

One of the more-challenging problems tackled by Hooke was the measurement of the distance to a star (other than the Sun). The star chosen was Gamma Draconis and the method to be used was parallax
Parallax
Parallax is a displacement or difference in the apparent position of an object viewed along two different lines of sight, and is measured by the angle or semi-angle of inclination between those two lines. The term is derived from the Greek παράλλαξις , meaning "alteration"...

 determination. After several months of observing, in 1669, Hooke believed that the desired result had been achieved. It is now known that Hooke's equipment was far too imprecise to allow the measurement to succeed. Gamma Draconis was the same star James Bradley
James Bradley
James Bradley FRS was an English astronomer and served as Astronomer Royal from 1742, succeeding Edmund Halley. He is best known for two fundamental discoveries in astronomy, the aberration of light , and the nutation of the Earth's axis...

 used in 1725 in discovering the aberration of light
Aberration of light
The aberration of light is an astronomical phenomenon which produces an apparent motion of celestial objects about their real locations...

.

Hooke's activities in astronomy extended beyond the study of stellar distance. His Micrographia contains illustrations of the Pleiades
Pleiades (star cluster)
In astronomy, the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters , is an open star cluster containing middle-aged hot B-type stars located in the constellation of Taurus. It is among the nearest star clusters to Earth and is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky...

 star cluster as well as of lunar craters. He performed experiments to study how such craters might have formed. Hooke also was an early observer of the rings of Saturn
Rings of Saturn
The rings of Saturn are the most extensive planetary ring system of any planet in the Solar System. They consist of countless small particles, ranging in size from micrometres to metres, that form clumps that in turn orbit about Saturn...

, and discovered one of the first observed double-star systems, Gamma Arietis
Gamma Arietis
Gamma Arietis is a triple star system, 204 light years distant, in the constellation Aries. It has the traditional name Mesarthim, of obscure origin, and has been called "the First Star in Aries" as having been at one time the nearest visible star to the equinoctial point...

, in 1664.

Memory

A lesser-known contribution however one of the first of its kind was Hooke's scientific model of human memory. Hooke in a 1682 lecture to the Royal Society proposed mechanistic model of human memory which would bear little resemblance to the mainly philosophical models before it. This model would address the components of encoding, memory capacity, repetition, retrieval, and forgetting—some with surprising modern accuracy. This work, overlooked for nearly 200 years would share a variety of similarities with Richard Semons's work of 1919/1923, both assuming memories were physical and located in the brain. The model's more interesting points are that it (1) allows for attention and other top-down influences on encoding; (2) it uses resonance to implement parallel, cue-dependent retrieval; (3) it explains memory for recency; (4) it offers a single-system account of repetition and priming, and (5) the power law of forgetting can be derived from the model's assumption in a straightforward way. This lecture would be published posthumously in 1705 as the memory model was unusually placed in a series of works on the nature of light. It has been speculated that this work saw little review as the printing was done in small batches in a post-Newtonian age of science and was most likely deemed out of date by time it was published. Further interfering with its success was contemporary memory psychologists' rejection of immaterial souls, which Hooke invoked to some degree in regards to the processes of attention, encoding and retrieval.

Architecture

Hooke was Surveyor to the City of London and chief assistant of Christopher Wren
Christopher Wren
Sir Christopher Wren FRS is one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history.He used to be accorded responsibility for rebuilding 51 churches in the City of London after the Great Fire in 1666, including his masterpiece, St. Paul's Cathedral, on Ludgate Hill, completed in 1710...

. Hooke helped Wren rebuild London after the Great Fire
Great Fire of London
The Great Fire of London was a major conflagration that swept through the central parts of the English city of London, from Sunday, 2 September to Wednesday, 5 September 1666. The fire gutted the medieval City of London inside the old Roman City Wall...

 in 1666, and also worked on designing London's Monument to the fire
Monument to the Great Fire of London
The Monument to the Great Fire of London, more commonly known as The monument, is a 202 ft tall stone Roman Doric column in the City of London, England, near the northern end of London Bridge. It stands at the junction of Monument Street and Panda Bear Hill, 202 ft from where the Great...

, the Royal Greenwich Observatory, Montagu House in Bloomsbury
Montagu House, Bloomsbury
Montagu House was a late 17th-century mansion in Great Russell Street in the Bloomsbury district of London, which became the first home of the British Museum....

, and the infamous Bethlem Royal Hospital
Bethlem Royal Hospital
The Bethlem Royal Hospital is a psychiatric hospital located in London, United Kingdom and part of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Although no longer based at its original location, it is recognised as the world's first and oldest institution to specialise in mental illnesses....

 (which became known as 'Bedlam'). Other buildings designed by Hooke include The Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians
The Royal College of Physicians of London was founded in 1518 as the College of Physicians by royal charter of King Henry VIII in 1518 - the first medical institution in England to receive a royal charter...

 (1679), Ragley Hall
Ragley Hall
Ragley Hall is located south of Alcester, Warwickshire, eight miles west of Stratford-upon-Avon. It is the ancestral seat of the Marquess of Hertford and is one of the stately homes of England.-The present day:...

 in Warwickshire
Warwickshire
Warwickshire is a landlocked non-metropolitan county in the West Midlands region of England. The county town is Warwick, although the largest town is Nuneaton. The county is famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare...

, and the parish church at Willen
Willen
Willen is a district of Milton Keynes, England and is also one of the ancient villages of Buckinghamshire to have been included in the designated area of the New City in1967...

 in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
History of Buckinghamshire
Although the name Buckinghamshire is Anglo Saxon in origin meaning The district of Bucca's home the name has only been recorded since about the 12th century. The historic county itself has been in existence since it was a subdivision of the kingdom of Wessex in the 10th century...

. Hooke's collaboration with Christopher Wren
Christopher Wren
Sir Christopher Wren FRS is one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history.He used to be accorded responsibility for rebuilding 51 churches in the City of London after the Great Fire in 1666, including his masterpiece, St. Paul's Cathedral, on Ludgate Hill, completed in 1710...

 also included St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral, London, is a Church of England cathedral and seat of the Bishop of London. Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604. St Paul's sits at the top of Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London, and is the mother...

, whose dome uses a method of construction conceived by Hooke. Hooke also participated in the design of the Pepys Library
Pepys Library
The Pepys Library of Magdalene College, Cambridge, is the personal library collected by Samuel Pepys which he bequeathed to the college following his death in 1703....

, which held the manuscripts of Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys FRS, MP, JP, was an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament who is now most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man...

's diaries, the most frequently cited eyewitness account of the Great Fire of London.

In the reconstruction after the Great Fire, Hooke proposed redesigning London's streets on a grid pattern with wide boulevards and arteries, a pattern subsequently used in the renovation of Paris
Haussmann's renovation of Paris
Haussmann's Renovation of Paris, or the Haussmann Plan, was a modernization program of Paris commissioned by Napoléon III and led by the Seine prefect, Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann, between 1853 and 1870...

, Liverpool, and many American cities. This proposal was thwarted by arguments over property rights, as property owners were surreptitiously shifting their boundaries. Hooke was in demand to settle many of these disputes, due to his competence as a surveyor and his tact as an arbitrator.

For an extensive study of Hooke's architectural work, see the book by Cooper.

Likenesses

No authenticated portrait of Robert Hooke exists, a situation sometimes attributed to the heated conflicts between Hooke and Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

. In Hooke's time, the Royal Society met at Gresham College, but within a few months of Hooke's death Newton became the Society's president and plans were laid for a new meeting place. When the move to new quarters finally was made a few years later, in 1710, Hooke's Royal Society portrait went missing, and has yet to be found.

Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 magazine published a portrait, supposedly of Hooke, in its 3 July 1939 issue. However, when the source was traced by Ashley Montagu
Ashley Montagu
Montague Francis Ashley Montagu was a British-American anthropologist and humanist, of Jewish ancestry, who popularized topics such as race and gender and their relation to politics and development...

, it was found to lack a verifiable connection to Hooke. Moreover, Montagu found that contemporary written descriptions of Hooke's appearance agreed with one another, but that neither matched Times alleged picture of him.

In 2003, historian Lisa Jardine
Lisa Jardine
Lisa Anne Jardine CBE , née Lisa Anne Bronowski, is a British historian of the early modern period. She is professor of Renaissance Studies and Director of the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters at Queen Mary, University of London, and is Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority...

 claimed that a recently discovered portrait was of Hooke, but this claim was disproved by William Jensen of the University of Cincinnati
University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati is a comprehensive public research university in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a part of the University System of Ohio....

. The portrait identified by Jardine, in fact, depicts the Flemish scholar Jan Baptist van Helmont
Jan Baptist van Helmont
Jan Baptist van Helmont was an early modern period Flemish chemist, physiologist, and physician. He worked during the years just after Paracelsus and iatrochemistry, and is sometimes considered to be "the founder of pneumatic chemistry"...

.

Other possible likenesses of Hooke include the following:
  • A seal used by Hooke displays an unusual profile portrait of a man's head, which some have argued portrays Hooke.
  • The engraved frontispiece to the 1728 edition of Chambers' Cyclopedia
    Ephraim Chambers
    Ephraim Chambers was an English writer and encyclopaedist, who is primarily known for producing the Cyclopaedia, or a Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences.-Early life:...

     shows a drawing of a bust of Robert Hooke. The extent to which the drawing is based on an actual work of art is unknown.
  • A memorial window existed at St Helen's Bishopsgate
    St Helen's Bishopsgate
    St Helen's Bishopsgate is a large conservative evangelical Anglican church, in Lime Street ward, in the City of London, close to the Lloyd's building and the 'Gherkin'.-History:...

     in London, but it was a formulaic rendering, not a likeness. The window was destroyed in the 1993 Bishopsgate bombing
    1993 Bishopsgate bombing
    The Bishopsgate bombing occurred on 24 April 1993, when the Provisional Irish Republican Army detonated a truck bomb in London's financial district in Bishopsgate, City of London, England. One person was killed in the explosion and 44 injured, and damage initially estimated at £1 billion was caused...

    .


In 2003 history painter Rita Greer embarked on a self-funded project to memorialize Hooke. The Rita Greer Robert Hooke project aimed to produce credible images of him, both painted and drawn, that fitted his contemporary descriptions drawn from two sources: John Aubrey and Richard Waller. Greer's images of Hooke, his life and work have been used for TV programmes in UK and US, in books, magazines and for PR.

Commemorations

  • 3514 Hooke
    3514 Hooke
    3514 Hooke is an outer main-belt asteroid discovered on October 26, 1971 by L. Kohoutek at Bergedorf.- External links :*...

    , an asteroid (1971 UJ)
  • Craters
    Hooke (crater)
    Hooke, as a crater, may refer to:* Hooke * Hooke...

     on the Moon
    Moon
    The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

     and on Mars
    Mars
    Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

     are named in his honour.
  • The Hooke Medal
  • Robert Hooke Science center St. John Smith Square Westminster School London
  • New memorials to Robert Hooke 2005 - 2009
    New memorials to Robert Hooke 2005 - 2009
    Robert Hooke, a major figure of 17th century England, died essentially unmemorialized. With no immediate family, and with personal disputes with many members of the Royal Society, no memorials were erected in his honor on the occasion of his death...


See also

  • Anchor escapement
    Anchor escapement
    In horology, the recoil or anchor escapement is a type of escapement used in pendulum clocks. An escapement is the mechanism in a mechanical clock that maintains the swing of the pendulum and allows the clock's wheels to advance a fixed amount with each swing, moving the hands forward...

  • Catenary
    Catenary
    In physics and geometry, the catenary is the curve that an idealised hanging chain or cable assumes when supported at its ends and acted on only by its own weight. The curve is the graph of the hyperbolic cosine function, and has a U-like shape, superficially similar in appearance to a parabola...

  • Elasticity (physics)
    Elasticity (physics)
    In physics, elasticity is the physical property of a material that returns to its original shape after the stress that made it deform or distort is removed. The relative amount of deformation is called the strain....

  • Great red spot
  • Hooke's atom
    Hooke's atom
    Hooke's atom, also known as harmonium, refers to an artificial helium-like atom where the Coulombic electron-nucleus interaction potential isreplaced by a harmonic potential...

  • List of astronomical instrument makers
  • Mechanics
    Mechanics
    Mechanics is the branch of physics concerned with the behavior of physical bodies when subjected to forces or displacements, and the subsequent effects of the bodies on their environment....

  • Optical microscope
    Optical microscope
    The optical microscope, often referred to as the "light microscope", is a type of microscope which uses visible light and a system of lenses to magnify images of small samples. Optical microscopes are the oldest design of microscope and were possibly designed in their present compound form in the...

  • Reticle (crosshair)
  • Sash window
    Sash window
    A sash window or hung sash window is made of one or more movable panels or "sashes" that form a frame to hold panes of glass, which are often separated from other panes by narrow muntins...

  • Shadowgraph
    Shadowgraph
    Shadowgraph is an optical method that reveals non-uniformities in transparent media like air, water, or glass. It is related to, but simpler than, the schlieren and schlieren photography methods that perform a similar function...

  • The Boyle-Hooke plaque in Oxford
    Oxford
    The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

  • Universal joint
    Universal joint
    A universal joint, universal coupling, U joint, Cardan joint, Hardy-Spicer joint, or Hooke's joint is a joint or coupling in a rigid rod that allows the rod to 'bend' in any direction, and is commonly used in shafts that transmit rotary motion...


Further reading


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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