London's Leonardo: The Life and Work of Robert Hooke

Front Cover
Interest in Robert Hooke (1635-1703) is growing and his reputation is rising. A widespread sympathy for a neglected figure of seventeenth-century science is being displaced by something more positive - a mixture of astonishment at the extraordinary range and diversity of his talents, esteemfor the originality and acumen of his science, admiration for his administrative capability and civic integrity, and fascination at the energy, emotion, and frailty evident in a life fully engaged with the world of Restoration London. Comparisons with his enemy Newton are giving way to anappreciation of Hooke on his own terms, passionately occupied with experiment, invention, argument, writing, teaching, and earning a living as a scientist in a competitive world.The diversity of Hooke's activities has presented a serious obstacle to previous attempts to deal with his life and work. As Curator of Experiments to the Royal Society, Gresham Professor of Geometry, Surveyor to the City of London, author and inventor, Hooke challenges the boundaries of modernexpertise. This book takes a different approach, by juxtaposing four accounts of the man from different but intersecting viewpoints.Unlike the aloof and distant demeanor adopted by Newton, concealing his views and speaking through surrogates, Hooke was a public man, bustling though the London streets, talking and arguing in coffee houses, lecturing to whatever audience might attend at Gresham College, performing (the theatricalconnotation is appropriate) experiments at the assembly of the Royal Society, being lampooned in a London playhouse.Each of the authors has a record of specialist research on aspects of Hooke and they have come together to provide a significant revaluation of the most important facets of his life and work: his career as a public man, his instrument designing and making, his scientific thought, and the privateworld of his personal life, his illnesses and his medications. The year 2003 is the tercentenary of Hooke's death.

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About the author (2003)


Jim Bennett is Director of the Museum of the History of Science, University of Oxford. He is author of The Mathematical Science of Christopher Wren (Cambridge University Press, 2002), The Divided Circle (Phaidon-Christie's, 1987), and Church, State and Astronomy in Ireland (Institute of Irish Studies, Belfast, 1990).
Michael Cooper is Emeritus Professor of Engineering Surveying at City University, London. He is author and contributor (as M. A. R. Cooper) to books, papers and conference proceedings on instrumentation and mathematical modelling for engineering surveying, close-range photogrammetry, and machine vision. Michael Hunter is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London. His books include The Occult Laboratory: Magic, Science and Second Sight in late 17th-century Scotland (Boydell Press, 2001), Robert Boyle: Scrupulosity and Science (Boydell Press, 2000), and Preserving the Past: the Rise of Heritage in Modern Britain (Sutton Publishing, 1996). He is Editor-in Chief of The Works of Robert Boyle (14 vols., 1999-2000, with Edward B. Davis) and The Correspondence of Robert Boyle (6 vols., 2001, with Antonio Clericuzio and Lawrence M. Principe; Pickering & Chatto). Lisa Jardine is a full-time academic, who combines a scholarly career as a historian with a high media profile. She is currently Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary University of London, and an Honorary Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. Her scholarly books include From Humanism to the Humanities (with Anthony Grafton), Erasmus, Man of Letters, and Reading Shakespeare Historically. She has published more than 50 full-length articles in refereed academic journals. She has also written two history books for the general market: Worldly Goods (Macmillan, 1996) and Ingenious Pursuits (Little, Brown 1999). Her biography of Sir Christopher Wren, entitled On A Grander Scale: The Career of Christopher Wren was published by HarperCollins in September 2002.

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