Hooke, Robert

Hooke, Robert
b. 18 July 1635 Freshwater, Isle of Wight, England
d. 3 March 1703 London, England
English physicist, astronomer and mechanician.
Son of Revd John Hooke, minister of the parish, he was a sickly child who was subject to headaches which prevented protracted study. He devoted his time while alone to making mechanical models including a wooden clock. On the death of his father in October 1648 he was left £100 and went to London, where he became a pupil of Sir Peter Lely and then went to Westminster School under Dr Busby. There he learned the classical languages, some Hebrew and oriental languages while mastering six books of Euclid in one week. In 1653 he entered Christ Church College, Oxford, where he graduated MA in 1663, after studying chemistry and astronomy. In 1662 he was appointed Curator of Experiments to the Royal Society and was elected a Fellow in 1663. In 1665 his appointment was made permanent and he was given apartments in Gresham College, where he lived until his death in 1703. He was an indefatigable experimenter, perhaps best known for the invention of the universal joint named after him. The properties of the atmosphere greatly engaged him and he devised many forms of the barometer. He was the first to apply the spiral spring to the regulation of the balance wheel of the watch in an attempt to measure longitude at sea, but he did not publish his results until after Huygens's reinvention of the device in 1675. Several of his "new watches" were made by Thomas Tompion, one of which was presented to King Charles II. He is said to have invented, among other devices, thirty different ways of flying, the first practical system of telegraphy, an odometer, a hearing aid, an arithmetical machine and a marine barometer. Hooke was a small man, somewhat deformed, with long, lank hair, who went about stooped and moved very quickly. He was of a melancholy and mistrustful disposition, ill-tempered and sharp-tongued. He slept little, often working all night and taking a nap during the day. John Aubrey, his near-contemporary, wrote of Hooke, "He is certainly the greatest Mechanick this day in the World." He is said to have been the first to establish the true principle of the arch. His eyesight failed and he was blind for the last year of his life. He is best known for his Micrographia, or some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies, first published in 1665. After the Great Fire of London, he exhibited a model for the rebuilding of the City. This was not accepted, but it did result in Hooke's appointment as one of two City Surveyors. This proved a lucrative post and through it Hooke amassed a fortune of some thousands of pounds, which was found intact after his death some thirty years later. It had never been opened in the interim period. Among the buildings he designed were the new Bethlehem (Bedlam) Hospital, the College of Physicians and Montague House.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
FRS 1663; Secretary 1677–82.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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  • Hooke,Robert — Hooke (ho͝ok), Robert. 1635 1703. English physicist, inventor, and mathematician who formulated the theory of planetary movement. * * * …   Universalium

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  • Hooke , Robert — (1635–1703) English physicist Hooke, whose father was a clergyman from Freshwater on the Isle of Wight, was educated at Oxford University. While at Oxford he acted as assistant to Robert Boyle, constructing the air pump for him. In 1662 Boyle… …   Scientists

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  • HOOKE, ROBERT —    natural philosopher, born at Freshwater, Isle of Wight; was associated with Boyle in the construction of the air pump, and in 1665 became professor of Geometry in Gresham College, London; was a man of remarkable inventiveness, and quick to… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Robert Hooke — Représentation d artiste de Robert Hooke. Aucun portrait contemporain authentifié de Robert Hooke n est connu. Naissance 18 juillet 1635 Freshwater, Île de Wight (Angleterre) Décès 3 mars 1703 Londres ( …   Wikipédia en Français

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