|Dr. N. Subramanian
Joined: 21 Feb 2008
Location: Gaithersburg, MD, U.S.A.
|Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:11 pm Post subject: Robert Hooke-who invented Hooke's Law
We know more about Newton but do we know as much about Hooke, who also lived at that time? Read on:
Robert Hooke (1635-1703)
No portrait survives of Robert Hooke. His name is some what obscure today, due in part to the enmity of his famous, influential,and extremely vindictive colleague, Sir Isaac Newton. Yet Hooke was perhaps the single greatest experimental scientist of the seventeenth century. His interests knew no bounds, ranging from physics and astronomy, to chemistry, biology, and geology, to architecture and naval technology; he collaborated or corresponded with scientists as diverse as Christian Huygens,Antonyvan Leeuwenhoek, Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, and Isaac Newton.Among other accomplishments, he invented the universal joint, the iris diaphragm,and an early prototype of the respirator; invented the anchor escapement and the balance spring, which made more accurate clocks possible; served as Chief Surveyor and helped rebuild London after the Great Fire of 1666;worked out the correct theory of combustion; devised an equation describing elasticity that is still used today ("Hooke's Law"); assisted Robert Boyle in studying the physics of gases; invented or improved meteorological instruments such as the barometer, anemometer, and hygrometer; and so on. He was the type of scientist that was then called a virtuoso-- able to contribute findings of major importance in any field of science.It is not surprising that he made important contributions to biology and to paleontology.
Robert Hooke FRS (28 July [O.S. 18 July] 1635 – 3 March 1703) was an English natural philosopher, architect and polymath.
His adult life comprised three distinct periods: as a scientific inquirer lacking money; achieving great wealth and standing through his reputation for hard work and scrupulous honesty following the great fire of 1666, but eventually becoming ill and party to jealous intellectual disputes. These issues may have contributed to his relative historical obscurity.
He was at one time simultaneously the curator of experiments of the Royal Society and a member of its council, Gresham Professor of Geometry and a Surveyor to the City of London after the Great Fire of London, in which capacity he appears to have performed more than half of all the surveys after the fire. He was also an important architect of his time – though few of his buildings now survive and some of those are generally misattributed – and was instrumental in devising a set of planning controls for London whose influence remains today. Allan Chapman has characterized him as "England's Leonardo".
Robert Gunther's Early Science in Oxford, a history of science in Oxford during the Protectorate, Restoration and Age of Enlightenment, devotes five of its fourteen volumes to Hooke.
Hooke studied at Wadham College during the Protectorate where he became one of a tightly knit group of ardent Royalists led by John Wilkins. Here he was employed as an assistant to Thomas Willis and to Robert Boyle, for whom he built the vacuum pumps used in Boyle's gas law experiments. He built some of the earliest Gregorian telescopes and observed the rotations of Mars and Jupiter. In 1665 he inspired the use of microscopes for scientific exploration with his book, Micrographia. Based on his microscopic observations of fossils, Hooke was an early proponent of biological evolution. He investigated the phenomenon of refraction, deducing the wave theory of light, and was the first to suggest that matter expands when heated and that air is made of small particles separated by relatively large distances. He performed pioneering work in the field of surveying and map-making and was involved in the work that led to the first modern plan-form map, though his plan for London on a grid system was rejected in favour of rebuilding along the existing routes. He also came near to an experimental proof that gravity follows an inverse square law, and hypothesized that such a relation governs the motions of the planets, an idea which was subsequently developed by Newton. Much of Hooke's scientific work was conducted in his capacity as curator of experiments of the Royal Society, a post he held from 1662, or as part of the household of Robert Boyle.
Hooke's Discourse of Earthquakes, published two years after his death,shows that his geological reasoning had gone even further.
Newton, as President of the Royal Society, did much to obscure Hooke, including, it is said, destroying (or failing to preserve) the only known portrait of the man. It did not help that the first life of Wren, Parentalis, was written by Wren's son, and tended to exaggerate Wren's work over all others. Hooke's reputation was revived during the twentieth century through studies of Robert Gunther and Margaret 'Espinasse. After a long period of relative obscurity he has now been recognized as one of the most important scientists of his age.
Read more about him and his rivalry with Newton in the following:
The Legacy of Robert Hooke:http://starryskies.com/articles/spec/hooks.html