Robert Hooke was a founding member and curator of experiments at the Royal Society – a society traditionally at the cutting edge of scientific discovery in Britain. He also had a knack of intuitively grasping amazing scientific truths without always understanding the hard science beneath.
His book, ”Micrographia,” was the first important work on microscopy. Robert was also the first man to state in general that air is made up of particles separated from each other by relatively large distances and that all matter expands when heated.
Here are top interesting facts about Robert Hooke:
#1 He was born in Freshwater on the Isle of Wight. Robert was the last child of Cecily Hooke and John Hooke (a Church of England priest and curate of the local church parish).
#2 When he was a child he took an interest in drawing and he would make his own materials from iron ore, chalk, and coal.
#3 At the age of 13, he joined Westminster School.
#4 In 1653, at the age of 18, he enrolled at the University of Oxford’s Christ Church College, where he studied experimental science and became a chorister. Here, he also worked as an assistant to Thomas Willis, a physician and founding member of the Royal Society.
#5 In 1655, he moved to Oxford and became assistant to the chemist Robert Boyle, an Anglo-Irish natural philosopher, physicist, chemist, and inventor.
#6 In the same year of 1655, he was employed by Robert Boyle to construct the Boylean air pump.
#7 In 1662, Robert became curator of the newly founded Royal Society, a role he did for 40 years. His duties were to produce 3 or 4 notable experimental demonstrations for each weekly meeting of the society.
#8 In 1664. Hooke became Professor of Geometry at Gresham College.
Hooke’s Law (Law of Elasticity)
#9 Hooke’s Law (also known as the law of elasticity) was crafted in 1660 thanks to his various experiments and observations. The law of elasticity states that, for relatively small deformations of an object, the displacement or size of the deformation is directly proportional to the deforming force or load.
#10 When he discovered the law of elasticity, Hooke published it as an anagram. This was a method occasionally used by scientists, like – Galileo, Huygens, and others, to establish priority for a discovery without revealing details. The law of elasticity is still considered a law of science to this day.
#11 In 1664, he discovered the 5th star in the Trapezium, an asterism in the constellation Orion. In addition, Hooke was the first who suggested that Jupiter rotates on its axis.
#12 In 1665, Robert published one of the most important science books ever – Micrographia. This book is also notable for coining the biological term cell. It is also especially notable for being the first book to illustrate insects and plants as seen through microscopes.
#13 Hooke was also an architect and designed many of the new buildings to be built after the Great Fire of London in 1666. But, his grid plan for the overall rebuilding of the city was rejected.
#14 In 1668, in a talk to the Royal Society, Robert recognized that fossil shells of unknown marine animals suggested that some species had become extinct.
#15 In the 1670s, Hooke postulated that gravitational pull applies to all celestial bodies. He stated that it decreases with distance and in its absence, the body would tend to move in a straight line.
#16 He wrote a detailed personal diary between March 1672 and May 1683.
#17 In 1678, he helped the Society of London successfully confirm a report written by Leeuwenhoek (a Dutch businessman and scientist in the Golden Age of Dutch science and technology) about protozoa and bacteria, referred to as little animals by then.
#18 On July 8, 1680, Robert observed the nodal patterns associated with the mode of vibration of glass plates. He also ran a bow along the edge of a glass plate covered with flour and saw the nodal patterns emerge.
#19 In December 1691, Hooke received the degree of “Doctor of Physic.”
#20 In his last year of life, he suffered from symptoms that may have been caused by diabetes.
#21 He died in London on March 3, 1703, and was buried at St Helen’s Bishopsgate. Hooke was very wealthy at the time of his death.
#22 Newton, as President of the Royal Society, did much to obscure Robert, including, it is said, destroying the only known portrait of the man.