Cover image for London's Leonardo : the life and work of Robert Hooke
London's Leonardo : the life and work of Robert Hooke
Bennett, J. A. (James A.)
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xii, 224 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
Hooke's career / Michael Cooper -- Hooke's instruments / Jim Bennett -- Hooke the natural philosopher / Michael Hunter -- Hooke the man : his diary and his health / Lisa Jardine.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
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Q143.H7 L66 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Interest in Robert Hooke (1635-1703) is growing and his reputation is rising. A widespread sympathy for a neglected figure of seventeenth-century science is being displaced by something more positive - a mixture of astonishment at the extraordinary range and diversity of his talents, esteemfor the originality and acumen of his science, admiration for his administrative capability and civic integrity, and fascination at the energy, emotion, and frailty evident in a life fully engaged with the world of Restoration London. Comparisons with his enemy Newton are giving way to anappreciation of Hooke on his own terms, passionately occupied with experiment, invention, argument, writing, teaching, and earning a living as a scientist in a competitive world.The diversity of Hooke's activities has presented a serious obstacle to previous attempts to deal with his life and work. As Curator of Experiments to the Royal Society, Gresham Professor of Geometry, Surveyor to the City of London, author and inventor, Hooke challenges the boundaries of modernexpertise. This book takes a different approach, by juxtaposing four accounts of the man from different but intersecting viewpoints.Unlike the aloof and distant demeanor adopted by Newton, concealing his views and speaking through surrogates, Hooke was a public man, bustling though the London streets, talking and arguing in coffee houses, lecturing to whatever audience might attend at Gresham College, performing (the theatricalconnotation is appropriate) experiments at the assembly of the Royal Society, being lampooned in a London playhouse.Each of the authors has a record of specialist research on aspects of Hooke and they have come together to provide a significant revaluation of the most important facets of his life and work: his career as a public man, his instrument designing and making, his scientific thought, and the privateworld of his personal life, his illnesses and his medications. The year 2003 is the tercentenary of Hooke's death.

Author Notes

Lisa Jardine was born in Oxford, England on April 12, 1944. She studied mathematics and English at university receiving a MA in the literary theory of translation from the University of Essex and a PhD from the University of Cambridge with a thesis on the scientific genius of Francis Bacon. She taught English at Warburg Institute, the University of Essex, Cornell University, Cambridge University, and Queen Mary and Westfield College.

She wrote several books during her lifetime including Francis Bacon: Discovery and the Art of Discourse, Ingenious Pursuits, Worldly Goods, Global Interests: Renaissance Art Between East and West, and Temptation in the Archives: Essays in Golden Age Dutch Culture. Going Dutch: How England Plundered Holland's Glory won the $75,000 Cundill International Prize in History in 2009. She received a Royal Society medal for popularizing science and was appointed CBE in 2005 for her contribution and commitment to state education. She died of cancer on October 25, 2015 at the age of 71.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This fascinating book aims to rectify the lack of recognition accorded to a famous scientist of the 17th century, Robert Hooke, who had the misfortune to work in the time of Isaac Newton. Hooke was a polymath who claimed, with some justification, that his ideas were stolen by others, including Newton. Each of the four British scholars (all, Univ. of Oxford) contributing to this book focuses on an aspect of Hooke's incredible contributions to science. Hooke is principally known today for the law of elasticity that bears his name; but he was the first curator of the Royal Society, in which capacity he put together experiments that elucidated physical theory. Hooke was clearly overshadowed by Newton in the realm of clear exposition of ideas. His major contributions were in the field of instrumentation, experimental design, and medical experimentation on himself. The authors provide detailed accounts of the full range of his work. The book is profusely illustrated and has excellent chapter endnotes, very good bibliography, and serviceable index. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All levels. N. Sadanand Central Connecticut State University

Table of Contents

Michael CooperJim BennettMichael HunterLisa Jardine
List of Figuresp. vii
Prefacep. xi
1. Hooke's Careerp. 1
2. Hooke's Instrumentsp. 63
3. Hooke the Natural Philosopherp. 105
4. Hooke the Man: His Diary and His Healthp. 163
Bibliographyp. 207
Indexp. 216