The Curious Life of Robert Hooke: The Man Who Measured by Lisa Jardine

By Lisa Jardine

The great, mostly forgotten maverick Robert Hooke was once an engineer, surveyor, architect and inventor who used to be appointed London's leader Surveyor after the good hearth of 1666. during the 1670s he labored tirelessly along with his intimate buddy Christopher Wren to rebuild London, individually designing many outstanding private and non-private constructions, together with the Monument to the hearth. He was once the 1st Curator of Experiments on the Royal Society, and the writer and illustrator of Micrographia, a lavishly illustrated quantity of interesting engravings of common phenomena as obvious below the recent microscope. He designed an early stability spring watch, was once a virtuoso performer of public anatomical dissections of animals, and stored himself going with liberal doses of hashish and "poppy water"(laudanum).

Hooke's own diaries -- cryptically confessional as something Pepys wrote -- list a existence wealthy with melodrama. He got here to London as a fatherless boy of 13 to hunt his fortune as a painter, emerging via his wits to develop into an highbrow star. He by no means married yet shaped a long-running illicit liaison along with his niece. A dandy, boaster, workaholic, insomniac and inveterate socializer in London's most trendy circles, Hooke had an irascible mood, and his passionate idealism proved deadly for his relationships with males of impression -- so much particularly Sir Isaac Newton, who, after one violent argument, wiped Hooke's identify from the Royal Society files and destroyed his portrait.

In this vigorous and soaking up biography, Lisa Jardine ultimately does Hooke and his achievements justice. Illuminating London's severe position within the emergence of recent technology, she rediscovers and decodes an outstanding unique philosopher of indefatigable interest and mind's eye, a huge determine within the seventeenth-century highbrow and clinical revolution.

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In the yeare 1663. Sept. 28. He was created Master o f Arts. Whether He wiz related to Dr Busby I cannot tell, but the Dr at the schoole, in the University & when he return’d from thense was his Patron. He alwais valued Him much, for his great Genius for the Mathimaticks, & all sort of Curiosities in Philosophy. By the time Charles I was tried, condemned and executed, in January 1649, Robert Hooke was in Busby’s care. So too were John Locke (who 62 • T H E C U R I O U S LIFE OF R O BERT HOOKE remained a friend throughout his life), John Dryden and Robert South.

What delusions of grandeur might ordinary families like the Hopkinses and Hookes 50 • T H E C U R I O U S LIFE OF RO BERT HOOKE have harboured, what dreams of future wealth and prominence, should the King, at this eleventh hour, regain his Kingdom? At the Restoration, ordinary men who had been resident on the Isle of Wight in 1648 would recall their involvement with the King’s short residence there with pride. ’^* In spite o f such loyalty, and local optimism about the outcome of the negotiations at Newport, there were several good reasons for the residents of the Isle of Wight to feel increasingly pessimistic about their own futures at the time.

But if it should happen otherwise, it is my desire he may be returned, it being not my aim so much to prefer him, as to serve you, which your own eminent worth will always oblige me unto with my utmost zeal and fidelity. ^’ It was in 1653 (the year o f Hooke’s arrival) that Wilkins met, and began to cultivate, Robert Boyle, a young man o f considerable personal wealth and an interest in chemistry and medicine, encouraging him to join the Oxford circle o f scientific virtuosi. A highly intelligent, welleducated man without occupation (he had no need to work for a living).

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