l>Robert HookeRobert Hooke (1635-1703)No portrait survives the Robert Hooke. His surname is somewhatobscure today, due in part to the enmity of his famous, influential,and incredibly vindictive colleague, sir Isaac Newton. Yet Hookewas probably the single greatest speculative scientist the theseventeenth century. His interests knew no bounds, varying fromphysics and astronomy, to chemistry, biology, and also geology, toarchitecture and also naval technology; the collaborated or correspondedwith researchers as diverse as Christian Huygens,Antonyvan Leeuwenhoek, Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, and Isaac Newton.Among other accomplishments, he invented the global joint, the iris diaphragm,and very early prototype of the respirator; developed the anchor escapementand the balance spring, i beg your pardon made more accurate clocks possible; servedas chief Surveyor and helped rebuild London after the great Fire that 1666;worked out the correct theory of combustion; devised one equation describingelasticity that is still used today ("Hooke"s Law"); assisted Robert Boylein researching the physics that gases; designed or improved meteorologicalinstruments such together the barometer, anemometer, and also hygrometer; andso on. He was the form of scientist the was then dubbed a virtuoso-- maybe to contribute findings of significant importance in any type of field of science.It is no surprising that he made essential contributions come biology and also topaleontology.Relatively little is known around Robert Hooke"s life. He was born top top July 18,1635, in ~ Freshwater, top top the Isle that Wight, the boy of a churchman. He wasapparently greatly educated at house by his father, althoughhe likewise served an apprenticeship to an artist. He to be able toenter Westminster institution at the period of thirteen, and from there visited Oxford, wheresome of the finest scientists in England were working at the time. Hookeimpressed them through his an abilities at designing experiments and also buildingequipment, and soon ended up being an assistant come the chemist Robert Boyle. In1662 Hooke was named Curator of experiments of the newly formed RoyalSociety of London -- definition that he to be responsible for demonstratingnew experiment at the Society"s weekly meetings. The later came to be GreshamProfessor of Geometry at Gresham College, London, whereby he had a set of roomsand where he lived for the remainder of his life. His health deteriorated end thelast te of his life, although one of his biographers created that "He to be of anactive, restless, indefatigable Genius even almost to the last." He died in Londonon in march 3, 1703.Hooke"s call in the history of biology largely rests top top his bookMicrographia, published in 1665. Hooke devised the compoundmicroscope and illumination system displayed above, one of the bestsuch microscopes of his time, and also used that in his demonstrations in ~ theRoyal Society"s meetings. V it he it was observed organisms as varied asinsects,sponges,bryozoans,foraminifera,andbirdfeathers. Micrographia was an accurate and in-depth record the hisobservations, depicted with magnificent drawings, such as the flea displayed below,which Hooke explained as "adorn"d through a curiously polish"d suite the sable Armour,neatly jointed. . ." It was a best-seller that its day. Some readers ridiculed Hookefor paying fist to such trifling pursuits: a satirist of the moment poked funny athim together "a Sot, that has spent 2000 £ in Microscopes, to find out thenature of eel in Vinegar, Mites in Cheese, and also the Blue that Plums which that hassubtly found out to be life creatures." Morecomplimentary was the reaction the the diarist and government main SamuelPepys, who continued to be up till 2:00 to be one night analysis Micrographia, i m sorry hecalled "the many ingenious book that I ever read in my life."
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Perhaps his most famed microscopical monitoring washis examine of thin slices the cork, depicted above right. In "Observation XVIII" ofthe Micrographia, that wrote:. . . I could exceedingly plainly perceive it come be every perforatedand porous, lot like a Honey-comb, however that the pores of the were no regular. . . .these pores, or cells, . . . Were certainly the an initial microscopical pores Iever saw, and perhaps, that were ever seen, because that I had not met with any type of Writeror Person, that had made any mention that them before this. . .Hooke had discovered plant cell -- more precisely, what Hooke witnessed werethe cell walls in cork tissue. In fact, it to be Hooke who coined the term "cells":the boxlike cell of cork reminded the of the cells of a monastery. Hooke alsoreported seeing comparable structures in wood and also in various other plants. In 1678, ~ Leeuwenhoekhad created to the Royal culture with a report of learning "little animals" --bacteria and protozoa -- Hooke was asked through the society to check Leeuwenhoek"sfindings. He efficiently did so, for this reason paving the way for the vast acceptance ofLeeuwenhoek"s discoveries. Hooke listed that Leeuwenhoek"s an easy microscopesgave clearer photos than his link microscope, but found simple microscopesdifficult come use: he called them "offensive to my eye" and complained the they"much strained and also weakened the sight."Hooke was also a keen observer the fossils and geology. While some fossilsclosely resemble living pets or plants, others carry out not -- since of theirmode the preservation, because they are extinct, or due to the fact that they representliving taxa which room undiscovered or poorly known. In the seventeenthcentury, a variety of hypotheses had actually been proposed for the origin of fossils.One widely embraced theory, going back to Aristotle, declared that fossilswere formed and grew within the Earth. A shaping force, or "extraordinaryPlastick virtue," can thus produce to stones that looked like living beingsbut to be not. Hooke"s contemporary, the naturalist and also shell collector MartinLister wrote in 1678 the "our English Quarry-shells to be not cast in anyAnimal mold, whose varieties or gyeongju is yet to be found in gift at this day."We would now interpret these fossils as belonging to extinct taxa, but extinctionwas not widely welcomed at the time, and also Lister concluded: "I am apt come think,there is no such matter, as Petrifying the Shells in the business. . . But thatthese Cockle-like shells ever before were, as they are at present, lapides suigeneris , and also never any component of one Animal."Hooke examined fossils v a microscopic lense -- the first person to execute so -- andnoted near similarities in between the frameworks of petrified wood and also fossilshells top top the one hand, and living wood and also living mollusc shells on the other.In Micrographia he compared a piece of petrified wood through a piece ofrotten oak wood, and also concluded thatthis petrify"d Wood having actually lain in some place where itwas fine soak"d with petrifying water (that is, together water together is wellimpregnated v stony and also earthy particles) go by degrees separateabundance the stony corpuscle from the permeating water, i beg your pardon stonyparticles, being by method of the fluid auto convey"d, not onely intothe Microscopical pores. . . But likewise into the pores or Interstitia. . . Ofthat part of the Wood, which v the Microscope, shows up most solid. . .Hooke"s language might be archaic, but his an interpretation is fairly modern: Deadwood can be turned to rock by the action of water rich in dissolved minerals,which would deposit minerals throughout the wood. Hooke additionally concluded inMicrographiathat the shell-like fossils the he examined reallywere "the Shells of particular Shel-fishes, which, either by some Deluge,Inundation, earthquake, or some such other means, became thrown tothat place, and also there to it is in fill"d through some type of dirt or Clay, or petrifyingWater, or some other substance. . . "
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Hooke"s Discourse of Earthquakes, published two years after his death,shows the his geological reasoning had gone even further. Complying with in thefootsteps ofLeonardo da Vinci,Hooke defined the presence of fossil shells ~ above mountains and also in inland regions:"Most the those Inland Places. . . Are, or have actually been heretofore under the Water. . .the Waters have actually been forc"d away from the Parts formerly cover"d, and many of thosesurfaces are now raised above the level of the Water"s Surface plenty of scores ofFathoms. It appears not improbable, the the top of the highest and most considerableMountains in the civilization have been under Water, and that they themselves mostprobably it seems ~ to have been the results of part very great Earthquake."Hooke continued to study fossils and also compare them through living biology -- theillustration over shows the coiled shells of three living cephalopods, Nautilus,Argonauta, and also Spirula, compared with a fossil ammonite (upper right).He break up that many fossils stood for organisms the no much longer existed onEarth: "There have been manyother varieties of Creatures in previous Ages, that which us can discover none in ~ present;and the "tis not unlikely also but that there may be divers new kinds now, whichhave not been indigenous the beginning."Hooke had actually grasped the cardinal principle of paleontology -- that fossils arenot "sports of Nature," but remains of once-living biology that have the right to be usedto assist us understand the history of life. Hooke realized, two and also a fifty percent centuriesbefore Darwin, the the fossil record documents changes amongst the organismson the planet, and that species have both appeared and gone extinct throughoutthe history of life ~ above Earth. These inquiries of the nature that fossils and also thepossibility of extinct would proceed to an obstacle natural scientists, from EdwardLhwyd and also John Raydown to Jean-BaptisteLamarck andGeorges Cuvier.roberthooke.org.uk is one excellent,well-illustrated website on Hooke"s life and also work, including a variety of images fromMicrographia.A brief biography of Hooke,with a listing that his contribute to mathematics, is component of theresources in thehistory of mathematics preserved at theSchool of mathematics of Trinity College,Dublin.


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Alistingof Hooke"s biographical data is easily accessible from theGalileo job website.Somewhat more extensive details on Hooke"s life and success is easily accessible inthis biography, component of theHistory ofMathematics archive; and also in the digital essay"Seeing Further:The tradition of Robert Hooke". Over there is additionally information around Hooke"s contributionsto microscopy in the thoroughHistory the the LightMicroscope pages.
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