Robert Hooke

18 Feb, 2016 500 Science

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and work of Robert Hooke (1635-1703) who worked for Robert Boyle and was curator of experiments at the Royal Society. The engraving of a flea, above, is taken from his Micrographia which caused a sensation when published in 1665. Sometimes remembered for his disputes with Newton, he studied the planets with telescopes and snowflakes with microscopes. He was an early proposer of a theory of evolution, discovered light diffraction with a wave theory to explain it and felt he was rarely given due credit for his discoveries.

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Reading list

  • London's Leonardo: The Life and Work of Robert Hooke
    Jim Bennett, Michael Cooper, Michael Hunter and Lisa Jardine (Oxford University Press, 2003)
  • History of the Royal Society of London
    Thomas Birch (Gale ECCO, 2010) Google Books →
  • England's Leonardo: Robert Hooke and the Seventeenth-Century Scientific Revolution
    Allan Chapman (CRC Press, 2004) Google Books →
  • A More Beautiful City: Robert Hooke and the Rebuilding of London After the Great Fire
    Michael Cooper (Sutton Publishing Ltd, 2003) Google Books →
  • Robert Hooke
    Margaret Espinasse (University of California Press, 1962) Google Books →
  • Oxford and the History of Science
    Robert Gunther (Oxford University Press, 1934) Google Books →
  • The Diary Of Robert Hooke
    Robert Hooke (eds. Henry W. Adams and Walter Robinson) Google Books →
  • The Man Who Knew Too Much: The Strange & Inventive Life of Robert Hooke 1635-1703
    Stephen Inwood (Macmillan, 2002) Google Books →
  • The Curious Life of Robert Hooke: The Man Who Measured London
    Lisa Jardine (HarperCollins, 2003) Google Books →
  • The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution
    David Wootton (Allen Lane, 2015) Google Books →

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. For two decades in the 17th century, Robert Hooke was arguably the greatest natural philosopher in Britain, at the head of the new interest in science, inspired by Copernicus and Descartes.