1st Edition

Robert Hooke Tercentennial Studies

By Michael Hunter, Michael Cooper Copyright 2006

    Robert Hooke (1635-1703) was a genius whose wide-ranging achievements are at last receiving the recognition that they deserve. Long overshadowed by such eminent contemporaries as Sir Isaac Newton and Sir Christopher Wren, Hooke's own seminal contributions to science, architecture and technology are now being acclaimed in their own right. Curator of Experiments to the Royal Society when it was chartered in 1662 and author of the famous Micrographia (1665), Hooke also showed unparalleled ingenuity in designing machines and instruments, and played a crucial role as Surveyor to the City of London after the Great Fire. This volume represents a benchmark in the study of Hooke, bringing together a comprehensive set of studies of different aspects of his life, thought and artistry. Its sections deal with Hooke's life and reputation; his contributions to celestial mechanics and astronomy, and to speculative natural philosophy; the instruments that he designed; and his work in architecture and construction. The introduction places the studies in the context of our current understanding of Hooke and his milieu, while the book also contains a comprehensive bibliography. In all, it will be an invaluable resource for all those interested in a figure whose complexity and importance are becoming clear after centuries of neglect.

    Contents: Introduction. Part 1 Celestial Mechanics and Astronomy: Robert Hooke's seminal contribution to orbital dynamics, Michael Nauenberg; Hooke's programme: final thoughts, Ofer Gal; Robert Hooke as an astronomer, Hideto Nakajima. Part 2 Instruments for Natural Philosophy: Instruments and ingenuity, Jim Bennett; Hooke's design for a driven equatorial mounting, Allan Mills, John Hennessy and Stephen Watson; Assessment of the scientific value of Hooke's work, S.H. Joseph. Part 3 Speculative Philosophy: Hooke on memory and the memory of Hooke, Douwe Draaisma; Graphic technologies, Nick Wilding; Hooke's ideas of the terraqueous globe and a theory of evolution, Ellen Tan Drake. Part 4 Architecture and Construction: Hooke and Bedlam, Jacques Heyman; Robert Hooke's Montagu House, Alison Stoesser; The 'mechanick artist' in late seventeenth-century English and French architecture, Hentie Louw. Part 5 Life and Reputation: Robert Hooke: gentleman of science, Mordechai Feingold; Hooke and Westminster, Edward Smith; After the Principia, Robert D. Purrington; Robert Hooke: a reputation restored, Lisa Jardine. Bibliography; Index.


    Michael Cooper is Emeritus Professor of Engineering Surveying at City University, London, UK. He is the author of two books on Hooke and London. Michael Hunter is Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London, UK. He is the author of many books on science and its milieu in late seventeenth-century England, and is also the editor-in-chief of the Works and Correspondence of Robert Boyle.

    ’This is a carefully planned and well-prepared volume that will do much to erase the still prevalent prejudices of historians. It not only bristles with scholarship but is touched with warmth and human interest as well. Everyone interested in seventeenth-century science will want to own it and refer to it.’ ISIS