Robert Hooke

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
Related to Robert Hooke: Rudolf Virchow, Anton van Leeuwenhoek

Hooke, Robert

(ho͝ok), 1635–1703, English physicist, mathematician, and inventor. He became curator of experiments for the Royal Society (1662), professor of geometry at Gresham College (1665), and city surveyor of London after the great 1666 fire. Considered the greatest mechanic of his age, he made many improvements in astronomical instruments and in watches and clocks, was the first to formulate the theory of planetary movements as a mechanical problem, and anticipated universal gravitation. In 1684 he devised a practicable system of telegraphy. He invented the spiral spring in watches and the first screw-divided quadrant and constructed the first arithmetical machine and Gregorian telescope. He also stated Hooke's law (see elasticityelasticity,
the ability of a body to resist a distorting influence or stress and to return to its original size and shape when the stress is removed. All solids are elastic for small enough deformations or strains, but if the stress exceeds a certain amount known as the elastic
..... Click the link for more information.
), and in his pioneering book Micrographia (1665) he described his microscopic observations of plant tissues and coined the term cell.


See biography by L. Jardine (2004); studies by M. 'Espinasse (1956) and F. F. Centore (1970).

Hooke, Robert


Born July 18, 1635, on the Isle of Wight; died Mar. 3, 1703, in London. British natural philosopher. Member of the Royal Society in London (1663).

In 1653, Hooke entered Oxford University, where he later became an assistant to R. Boyle. In 1665 he became a professor at Gresham College, and from 1677 to 1683 he was secretary of the Royal Society in London. A resourceful scientist and inventor, Hooke dealt with many aspects of natural science in his work. In 1659 he constructed an air pump. Around 1660 he and C. Huygens established fixed points for the thermometer—the melting point of ice and the boiling point of water. Hooke improved the barometer and the reflecting telescope, used a terrestrial telescope to measure angles, and constructed an instrument for measuring the force of the wind, a machine for dividing a circle, and other instruments.

In 1660, Hooke made the very important discovery that the force applied to an elastic body is proportional to its deformation. This is known as Hooke’s law. He stated the concept that all celestial bodies attract one another, and he gave a general picture of planetary motion. Hooke anticipated Newton’s law of universal gravitation, and in 1679 he expressed the opinion that if the attractive force is inversely proportional to the square of the distance, a planet should move in an ellipse. He believed in the wave theory of light, questioned the corpuscular theory, and considered heat the result of the mechanical motion of particles of a substance.

Using a microscope that he had perfected, Hooke observed the structure of plants and made a clear drawing that was the first to show the cellular structure of cork. (Hooke introduced the term “cell.”) He also described the structure of cells of the elder, dill, and carrot.

In Hooke’s opinion, changes in the earth’s surface entailed changes in fauna. He considered fossils to be the remains of organisms that had once existed and believed that they could be used to reconstruct the earth’s history.

Hooke was also known as an architect. He designed several buildings, most of which are in London.


Micrographia, or Some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies. . . . London, 1665.
Lectures de Potentia Restitutiva. London, 1678.
An Attempt to Prove the Motion of the Earth From Observations. London, 1674.
Lectiones Cutlerianae. London, 1679.
Posthumous Works. London, 1705.
In Russian translation:
Obshchaia skhema, ili ideia nastoiashchego sostoianiia estestvennoi filosofii. In Nauchnoe nasledstvo: Estestvenno-nauchnaia seriia, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad 1948.
References in periodicals archive ?
While most people will be aware that during the 17th century, much of London was destroyed in the Great Fire, they may not know that the city surveyor appointed to superintend its rebuilding was none other than Robert Hooke, one of the most gifted men of his age.
The Curious Life of Robert Hooke will indefinitely stand as a definitive account of one of history's great dabblers in scientific discoveries.
For example, the second article, by John Sutton, reviews late 17th- and early 18th-century concepts of memory (Rene Descartes, Robert Hooke, and others).
In fact, the words are from a letter written long before Newton's work on gravity was published and were part of a bitter feud between him and Robert Hooke.
There was Robert Hooke, famous for his microscopic studies of tiny organisms and Robert Boyle who, as every schoolboy knows, came up with a law about the pressure and volume of gases.
Robert Hooke did not discover and define cells, he merely applied the name to formations he saw in cork (p.
In the 1600s, British scientist Robert Hooke first used the mouse as an experimental animal for his work on high and low atmospheric pressures.
5-7), takes a more traditional historical approach, as Gouk considers Francis Bacon and the science of acoustics, as well as two other important figures within the emerging scientific community, Robert Hooke and Isaac Newton.
In separate chapters, Battigelli explores Cavendish's responses to influential figures of her time: Queen Henrietta Maria, Pierre Gassendi, Thomas Hobbes, and members of the Royal Society, especially Robert Hooke.
The jealous, hostile reaction from Robert Hooke to Newton's first paper, submitted to the Royal Society in 1672, probably only reinforced Newton's native tendency to withhold his work from criticism.
In particular, Kassler draws on the thinking of three English philosophers - Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), Robert Hooke (1635-1704) and Roger North (1653-1731) - to demonstrate how stringed, percussion and wind instruments have served as models for conceptualizing aspects of 'internal character', a term which here embraces aspects of both physiology and ethics.
Some scientists of the 17th century--Galileo, Christiaan Huygens, and Robert Hooke, for example--embodied their discoveries in anagrams, while they were engaged in further verification, to keep others from claiming the credit.