Scientific Virtuoso: Hooke 1655–1687

Part of the Science Networks. Historical Studies book series (SNHS, volume 39)


Robert Hooke’s four decade-long scientific career is inseparable from the Royal Society of London, to which he devoted his entire scientific life.1) The Society was the vehicle through which he became a natural philosopher, and in many respects it made possible his other important career, as surveyor, builder, and architect, however much those two careers conflicted with each other. Although Hooke’s scientific life began in Oxford when he was not yet 20, little is known of his activities until 1658, when he first appears on the books of Christ Church College, despite the fact that he spent as much as nine years there, between about 1653 and 1662.2) This was a crucial formative period for the young Hooke, who arrived at Oxford straight from Westminster School and the tutelage of Dr. Busby, but left nearly a decade later as a maturing young scientist3) to become the Royal Society’s Curator of experiments. Thus began Hooke’s career as effectively the first professional scientist.


Royal Society Natural Philosopher Planetary Motion Society Meeting English Patent 
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  1. 4).
    See, for example, ’Espinasse (1962), pp. 61–63. Glasgow (1885), in Watch and Clock Making says that “About the year 1665. Dr. Hooke invented what is known as the recoil, or anchor, escapement. This was afterwards adopted in a clock made by Clement, a London clockmaker of the time. It should be admitted here that Hooke’s recollection of what occurred forty years earlier might not be any more reliable than Newton’s, which we will later discount, but the difference lies in the evidence from the documents of the Society.”Google Scholar
  2. 5).
    Apparently feeling that a patent would reveal his invention, thus making it possible for others to improve upon it. This question is discussed in various places, including ’Espinasse (1956), pp. 61–69. Waller, in his “Life of Dr. Robert Hooke,” says that he saw the draft of an agreement between Brouncker, Boyle, Moray, and Hooke, to promote this invention, with Hooke receiving most of the proceeds. See Gunther, VI, p. 11. In his biographical sketch, Hooke describes this as having occurred “Immediately after his Majesty’s Restoration.”Google Scholar
  3. 6).
    The innovation was using a spring to regulate the watch, as opposed to powering it. See Wright (1989) and references therein for details of Hooke’s efforts with the balance-spring watch.Google Scholar
  4. 7).
    Apparently (Jardine, 2000, pp. 268–9) making trips back and forth between London and Oxford for some time. Hooke’s work with Boyle led eventually to one of the few extant monuments to his having lived. Thus, on a plaque marking the location of Boyle’s laboratory in Oxford, we find a reference to Hooke’s discovery of the cell.Google Scholar
  5. 8).
    Boyle, New Experiments (1660). “Mr G”, Ralph Greatorex, was a leading engineer who had been involved in pumping the fens of Southeast England.Google Scholar
  6. 9).
    This important issue has been dealt with in detail by Cohen (1964), Webster (1965), and Agassi (1977). There seems no doubt that Mariotte came to this idea no earlier than 1679, some 16 years after Boyle and Hooke. But Boyle knew of the experiments of Henry Power and Richard Towneley which had been carried out in 1660–61. Their data had been forwarded to Boyle by William Croone. and Boyle quotes Hooke as having said that he had performed experiments in August of 1661 verifying “Mr. Townly’s Hypothesis,” of which he had “lately heard.” In fact, Hooke said that he had made such measurements a year before, but never claimed to have made the discovery himself. Cohen points out that Newton, who was reluctant to grant Hooke any credit at all, acknowledged the role of “Hooke and others” in this discovery, rather than Boyle, in Book 3 of the Principia. Newton probably learned of the law by reading Hooke’s Micrographia. On the other hand, it seems clear that Boyle’s experiments on compression of a gas, and those of Towneley on expansion, were independent, with Boyle’s being earlier. Hooke’s role will never be precisely known. See Agassi, and for a somewhat different view, Webster. Cohen’s sound verdict is that “this is a law discovered by Power and Towneley, accurately verified by Hooke, accurately verified again by Boyle (aided in some degree by Hooke), first published by Boyle, but chiefly publicized by Mariotte.” in short the law of Power and Towneley, and of Hooke and Boyle, and — to a lesser degree — of Mariotte.Google Scholar
  7. 10).
    See, for example Maddison (1969). Chap. III. Boyle regularly contributed experiments in the early years of the Society, and had a laboratory in his sister’s house in Pall Mall.Google Scholar
  8. 11).
    He had complained of “distemper of the eyes” since 1655 (Maddison, (1969), Chap. III Ibid., p. 85). See also Gunther, VI, p. 73.Google Scholar
  9. 12).
    On Boyle, there is a massive amount of recent important writing, especially by Michael Hunter and his collaborators. The recent biographies by Hunter (2000, 2009), are definitive. There is no doubt that Boyle set new standards for the actual practice of experimentation, as well as the philosophical basis for it and its interpretation.Google Scholar
  10. 13).
    Published in facsimile in Gunther , Vol. X, pp. 1–50. Keynes thought that the New Atlantis. Begun by the Lord Verulam [Francis Bacon], Viscount St. Albans: And Continued by R.H. Esquire, published in 1660, was a work of Hooke. See Keynes’ arguments in his Bibliography of Robert Hooke, (Keynes, 1960), pp. 2–4.Google Scholar
  11. 14).
    See the Society’s A Guide to the Archives and Manuscripts of the Royal Society by Keith Moore (1995).Google Scholar
  12. 19).
    For example, a letter from Moray to Oldenburg in November 1665 commenting on Hooke’s “slackness.” The full passage is “... I would hee had any thing hee desires that hee may have no longer excuses for his slackness in making out hypotheses.”. CHO, Vol. II, p. 605 (12 November 1665).Google Scholar
  13. 21).
    Waller (1705), p. ix.Google Scholar
  14. 22).
    Birch , 1, p. 123. It is recorded that “The proposition was received unanimously, Mr. Robert Hooke being named to be the person.”Google Scholar
  15. 23).
    The order of the Society, honoring Cutler, is printed in Birch , 1, 484–5 (11 Nov. 1664).Google Scholar
  16. 25).
    The situation is a bit more complex than this suggests, in that Hooke initially lost a controversial election for the vacant Gresham professorship, but after the Society protested, he won the post. See Birch , I, p. 436. Cutler’s intention was to have Hooke lecture on the history of trades, and he was never satisfied with the arrangement by which Hooke became Professor of Geometry, and stopped paying in 1670.Google Scholar
  17. 30).
    Hooke concluded that the proper form for an arch would be an inverted catenary, the latter being the curve taken by a uniform chain hanging from two supports under gravity. He approximated this curve, or rather the surface generated by it, by a “cubico-parabolic conoid,” which is generated by rotating the curve y=ax 3 about the y-axis. The catenary problem was solved by James Bernoulli, Huygens and Leibniz in the 1690s. Hooke’s formulation was apparently used by Wren in the dome of St. Paul’s. For a discussion of the issues involved, see Heyman (1998). In “Helisocopes” Hooke expressed this in an anagram, which has been unscrambled as “Ut pendet continuum flexile, sic stabit contiguum rigidum inversum,” or (Heyman (1998), p. 40) “as hangs the flexible line, so but inverted will stand the rigid arch.”Google Scholar
  18. 34).
    Oldenburg to Beckman, 30 March 1668. CHO, IV, p. 280.Google Scholar
  19. 36).
    Hooke reported, on 6 September, that he “heard that Oldenburg Dyed yesterday morning being stricken speechless and senseless.” Oldenburg’s second wife, Dora, died only 12 days after her husband, at about age 25. See M.B. Hall (2002), pp. 299–300. What connection the two deaths might have is unknown, and indeed the only evidence that Oldenburg died in London comes from Hooke’s Diary, showing what an important resource it is.Google Scholar
  20. 37).
    The Society’s presidents during Hooke’s tenure at the RS were: Lord Viscount Brouncker, 1662-1677, Sir Joseph Williamson, 1677–1680, Sir Christopher Wren, 1680–82, Sir John Hoskins, 1682–83, Sir Cyril Wyche, 1683–4, Samuel Pepys, 1684–6, John Vaughan, Earl of Carbery, 1686–89, Earl of Pembroke, 1689–90, Sir Robert Southwell, 1690–5, Charles Montague, 1695–8, Lord Summers, 1698–1703. Note that most, after Brouncker and before Newton, served 2–3 years or so.Google Scholar
  21. 40).
    In his Cutler Lecture, An Attempt to Prove the Motion of the Earth by Observations (pp. 23–25) Hooke described detecting what he thought was stellar parallax in the summer of 1669. His measurements were, like most of his astronomical observations, somewhat desultory, and his descriptions of the difficulty in keeping his zenith telescope in adjustment leave one with at best modest confidence that he actually measured anything real. The observations he made in the summer and fall of 1669 were only of the N-S departure of the position of a single star. See Chapter 11.Google Scholar
  22. 42).
    In his postscript to his “A Description of Helioscopes” of 1676, Hooke noted that Sprat’s History of the Royal Society records “several new kinds of Pendulum Watches for the Pocket, wherein the motion is regulated, by Springs, or Weights, or Loadstones ...;” Sprat (1667), p. 247. Hooke’s name is not mentioned, but clearly it is he who is the inventor. In “De Restitutiva,” Hooke speaks of showing his balance-spring watch to Brouncker, Boyle, and Moray. Gunther, VIII, p. 337. In the Diary for 1675 one finds the following passages: “At Sir J. Mores. He told me of Oldenburg’s treachery his defeating the society and getting a patent for Spring Watches for himself.” (6 March) “Lord Brouncker & Oldenburg, discovered their designe.” (8 April) “Brounker a Dog for belying me to the King.” (29 April) “Oldenburg a raskall for not registering things brought into the society ...” (3 June) “I reproved Oldenburg for not Registering Experiments. Brouncker took his part.” (10 June) “Oldenburg a Rascall.” (17 June) “Dind with Mr. Boyle. Raild against Oldenburg.” (10 August). “Writ against Oldenburg.” (3 September) “Sir Ch Wren read my papers and against Oldenburg approved.” (25 September).Google Scholar
  23. 43).
    Birch, 3, 190.Google Scholar
  24. 44).
    Oldenburg to Huygens, 11 March 1674/5, CHO, XI, p. 220–3.Google Scholar
  25. 45).
    18 February 1674/5; Birch 3, 190. The Diary entry is p. 148, Robinson and Adam (1935). Ironically, it was at this meeting that Newton was admitted to the Society.Google Scholar
  26. 46).
    See, for example, Jardine (2004), pp. 193–202 for Chapman (2005) pp. 175–182. One needs to be careful in interpreting Jardine’s comments on circular pendula in her chapter “Skirmishes with Strangers,” since Hooke used the circular pendulum, in this case an actual pendulum swinging in a circle or ellipse, as an analogy to planetary motion. See Chapter 10.Google Scholar
  27. 48).
    Birch, 2, 112; 29 August 1666.Google Scholar
  28. 49).
    Diary I, p. 151.Google Scholar
  29. 50).
    Diary I, p. 163–4.Google Scholar
  30. 51).
    Three years later, Hooke noted that as newly elected Secretary he had viewed the correspondence of the late Henry Oldenburg and “found two letters of Sir R. Moray to Hugens about my watches ...” Diary I, p. 29 December 1677.Google Scholar
  31. 52).
    CHO, 21 June 1675 (letter #2684). “He is a man of very peculiar temperament, which must be endured with the more patience because he has a real spirit of inventiveness.”Google Scholar
  32. 53).
    CHO, Vol. XI, pp 378–381 1 July 1675.Google Scholar
  33. 55).
    In a letter to Oldenburg 30 September 1665, Moray asked the secretary to inquire of Huygens “if hee doth not apply a spring to the Arbre of th Balance? and that will give him occasion to say somewhat to you. if it be that, you may tell him what Hook hath done, in that matter & what he intends more.” (CHO) Over a decade later, in his Diary for 29 December 1677, three months after Oldenburg’s death, Hooke wrote: “With Grew and Hill viewd Oldenburg letters to be rejected when I found two letters of Sir R. Moray to Hugens about my watches ...”, Diary I, p. 337.Google Scholar
  34. 57).
    Sprat (1667), p. 247. Hooke also spoke of it in a Gresham lecture in 1664 (Inwood, 2003, p. 189).Google Scholar
  35. 58).
    As the Halls believe (Hall and Hall, 1962a).Google Scholar
  36. 59).
    CHO, II, p. 553. In other places as well, it appears that Oldenburg was scrupulous in guarding priority, and in particular with respect to Hooke. See, for example, a letter to Boyle on 17 March 1665/6 concerning Hooke’s invention of ways to sound the depths (CHO, III, p. 61.) Oldenburg, as the Halls point out in defense of him, managed an exchange between Hooke and Auzout expertly, and defended Hooke’s priority. Hooke, of course, saw the matter differently, for in his view, Oldenburg had not only told others of his discoveries, but failed to register important inventions, allowing others to claim discoveries which he had previously presented or described to the Society.Google Scholar
  37. 61).
    Hall and Hall, “Why blame Oldenburg,” Hall and Hall Op. Cit. This was certainly not the conclusion of Keynes in his Hooke bibliography (Keynes, 1960, p. 36), nor of ‘Espinasse (1956, pp. 66–70). Finally, see the new evidence against Oldenburg in the “Hooke Folio,” below. Oldenburg was German, and apparently performed minor diplomatic services for his native state of Bremen. He was alleged to have “a peculiar temper which prevented him from agreeing well with others.” Quoted in Powell (1948), p. 168.Google Scholar
  38. 62).
    CHO, Vol. XI, pp. xviii–xix.Google Scholar
  39. 63).
    See the passage quoted in ‘Espinasse (1962), p. 67, from the journal of the Italian Count Magalotti, who described seeing Hooke’s spring-regulated watch at the Royal Society on 27 February 1667/8. Note also the revelation in the “Hooke Folio” discovered in 2006 (see below). Much later, on 8 March 1674/5, Hooke inserted a drawing of a double spiral spring for a watch in his Diary.Google Scholar
  40. 65).
    But see ‘Espinasse (1956), pp. 63–65, and also Keynes (1960), p. 36: “It seems, however, from the evidence of correspondence still in the archives of the Royal Society that Oldenburg did in fact betray Hooke’s invention to Huygens.” Finally, the letter from Moray to Oldenburg on 30 September 1665. Huygens gave the Society his rights to an English patent. See Birch, 3, 322; PT, vol. xi, no. 129, p. 749.Google Scholar
  41. 66).
    He hoped, for example, to find a position with Seth Ward, who had become Bishop of Salisbury, and in a letter to Boyle on 24 September 1667, sounded Boyle out on the question of a recommendation. [CHO, III, 480–1].Google Scholar
  42. 67).
    Sprat (1667), p. 247, where is discussed the regulation of watches “wherein the motion is regulated, by Springs, ...”. This account was published in 1667.Google Scholar
  43. 68).
    PT, Vol. 10 (1675), No. 118, p. 440–1. This was patently disingenuous given his letter to Huygens of 11 March 1674/5 (CHO, XI, 220–220), not to mention an earlier letter to Huygens on 7 October 1665 (CHO, II, 551–54).Google Scholar
  44. 70).
    “Go far away from both hope and fear.” In the postscript to “Helioscopes” Hooke wrote that “Of these things the Publisher of the Transactions was not ignorant, and I doubt not but Mr. Hugens hath had an account, at least he might have read so much of it in the History of the Royal Society as was enough to have given him notice of it ...” Gunther , Vol. VIII, p. 149–150. And in the devastating postscript to “Lampas”, referring to Oldenburg’s attack on him in the PT of October 1675, he accused the Secretary of prevarication and worse, and concluded as follows: “To his upbraiding me with his having published some things of mine; I answer, he hath so, but not so much with mine as with his own desire, and if he send me what I think worth publishing I will do as much for him, and repay him in his own coyn. Lastly, Whereas he makes use of We and Us ambiguously, it is desired he would explain whether he means the Royal Society, or the Pluralities of himself. If the former, it is not so, as I can prove by many Witnesses; if the later, I neither know what he is acquainted with, or what has been imparted or explained to him.” Gunther, VIII, 208.Google Scholar
  45. 71).
    PT, Nos. 128 and 129. Oldenburg wrote that “the publisher of this tract [the Transactions] intends to take another opportunity of Justifying himself against the Aspersions and Calumnies of an immoral Postscript put to a Book called Lampas, published by Robert Hooke: Till which time,’ tis hoped, the Candid Reader will suspend his Judgement.” PT, No. 128, 25 September 1676, p. 710. In the next number, dated 20 November, Oldenburg elaborated, publishing the Council’s declaration of the same date absolving him.Google Scholar
  46. 72).
    On 24 November 1686 a letter from Hevelius was read, “justifying Mr. Oldenburg against an aspersion of Mr. Hooke, who had represented, that the former had written to Mr. Hevelius more and different things, than he had been directed to do by the Royal Society.” Birch, 4, 504.Google Scholar
  47. 75).
    Hall and Hall, CHO, II, p. xxiii. See also “Why blame Oldenburg,” (Hall and Hall, 1962a).Google Scholar
  48. 76).
    Diary, 28 January 1973/4.Google Scholar
  49. 77).
    Diary, 15 October 1675.Google Scholar
  50. 79).
    ‘Espinasse gives a good account of the controversy. Hooke’s version is in the Postscript to his Cutler lecture “Helioscopes.” (Gunther VIII, pp. 146–152.)Google Scholar
  51. 80).
    CHO, II, p. xx. This was only Hooke’s second year as Curator.Google Scholar
  52. 81).
    The issue was Hooke’s advocary of the use of telescopic sights in measuring stellar positions. This controversy raged for over a decade, highlighted by Hooke’s “Animadversions on the first part of Machina Coelestis” in 1674, through Hevelius’ “Annus Climactericus” of 1685. Hooke was obviously correct in principle, but when his friend Halley visited Hevelius in Dantzig in 1679, he initially reported that Hevelius was achieving unbelievable accuracy with his open sights. Later, however, Halley indicated that he had been merely trying to assuage “an old peevish Gentleman.” (MacPike, 1932, 60, 65) See Armitage (1966). Hooke eventually answered Hevelius on February 24, 1686, when he read a paper “vindicating himself from some injuries, which he conceived done him by Mr. Hevelius in his Annus Climactericus.” (Birch, 4, 461).Google Scholar
  53. 92).
    28 February 1682/3, Birch, 4, 187–8.Google Scholar
  54. 93).
    Birch , 4, 207–8. So while Curator “in perpetuity,” he was no longer regularly salaried.Google Scholar
  55. 95).
    Birch, 4, 260–1.Google Scholar
  56. 96).
    Birch, 4, p. 229–230; November 24, 1683. Perhaps his “Present State of Natural Philosophy” and/or “The Method of Improving Natural Philosophy,” which we discuss in Chapter 9.Google Scholar
  57. 105).
    Birch, 1, 83. Hooke was named on 5 November and approved the following week.Google Scholar
  58. 107).
    Boyle, New Experiments Physico-Mechanical (1660). See also Pepys’ diary entry for 25 April 1661, describing experiments in which a snake and a chick were placed in “Mr Boyle’s pneumatic engine.”Google Scholar
  59. 108).
    4 January 1664/5. Birch , 2, 2.Google Scholar
  60. 109).
    The quote is from Micrographia, p. 105. At a Society meeting on 18 January 1665, in which various comments were made on Hooke’s theory of combustion, Boyle, when asked his opinion, remarked that, to quote Birch (or the Society’s minutes) “four or five years before he had made the consideration of this subject a part of his business, but did not know, whether his present studies ... would give him leave to review what he had then written.” In his New Experiments, Boyle describes experiments in which gunpowder is ignited in an evacuated receiver. Ralph Bathurst (influenced by George Ent) earlier held some similar ideas, and later, John Mayow would amplify on the ideas of Hooke and Boyle. While Boyle was more interested in the physical properties of the air, Hooke gave considerable attention to its physiological and chemical effects. For elaboration, see Frank (1980).Google Scholar
  61. 110).
    Birch, 1, 163–5.Google Scholar
  62. 112).
    Specifically, he reported to the Society on 24 August that he had begun to make such experiments, and gave details in a letter to Boyle written the following day. See Birch, 1, p. 461.Google Scholar
  63. 114).
    The matter is also discussed in Chapter 10. Horrocks had earlier employed the circular pendulum as an analogy to planetary motion. See Pugliese, 1989, p. 194 and n. 32.Google Scholar
  64. 115).
    Birch, 2, 107–8; 8 and 15 August 1666.Google Scholar
  65. 116).
    Requiring that the pendulum fiber be wrapped over a “cheek” in the shape of a cycloid. See, for example, Pugliese (1989).Google Scholar
  66. 117).
    This is Pugliese’s view (Pugliese, 1989). For Hooke’s flawed analysis of the conical pendulum, see Pugeliese, pp. 196–198. The source is a manuscript of Hooke’s, Royal Society Classified Papers xx. 53 (fol. 116).Google Scholar
  67. 118).
    Birch, 1, 505–8. If these ideas of Hooke cannot be said to foreshadow the similar speculations which are indulged in today, they are interesting nonetheless.Google Scholar
  68. 122).
    At St. Paul’s or the Monument, pressure changes of on the order of 1% could be observed. Certainly measurable. Hooke described this experiment in a letter to Boyle, written 8 Sept. 1664. Hunter, et al (2001), v, 535. At a Society meeting the previous day Hooke said that a column of mercury fell about half an inch between the bottom and “the top of the steeple” at Old St. Paul’s. This would be about a 2% change.Google Scholar
  69. 123).
    As he had done a year earlier Birch, 2, 75.Google Scholar
  70. 124).
    Birch, 2 Ibid, p. 88.Google Scholar
  71. 128).
    Specifically, 13 April 1671. Birch , 2, 477.Google Scholar
  72. 129).
    Birch , 3, 63. See also Hall, 1990.Google Scholar
  73. 130).
    By 1674 Hooke had been published in about 14 Philosophical Transactions, though some of these are reports from Hooke to the editor. See Keynes (1960), pp. 56–7.Google Scholar
  74. 133).
    Nichols (1999); Jardine (2002), xii. Hooke seems to have intended that the Monument, whose construction was begun in 1673, the year before the Cutler Lecture was published, should be used for zenith observations. There is, however, no clear evidence, that he did, and indeed he never mentions this aspect of the Monument in his Diary.Google Scholar
  75. 134).
    Birch , 3, pp. 384–5. Of course this was far from being novel, even for Hooke, who had first addressed the problem with Boyle 20 years before.Google Scholar
  76. 140).
    Gunther , VIII, pp. 333, 336.Google Scholar
  77. 141).
    Gordon (1978).Google Scholar
  78. 142).
    “Consequently all those powers beginning from nought, and ending in the last degree of tension or bending, added together in one sum, or aggregate, will be in duplicate proportion to the space bended or degree, of flexure...” And, “... a spring bent two spaces in its return receiveth four degrees of impulse...; so bent three spaces it receiveth in its whole return nine degrees of impulse...” De Restitutiva, in Gunther, VIII, p. 349–50.Google Scholar
  79. 143).
    Lamentably, Hooke had many of these recurring interests, as he failed to pursue an idea as far as he might, or would have liked to. Whether this was largely a natural predilection, or as seems likely, simply a consequence of the demands of his job as Curator, is difficult to be certain about. Manuel (1968, p. 135) called him a “Don Juan of Science”. Newton, we note elsewhere, had the ability to concentrate on a problem to its conclusion, and to the exclusion of all else.Google Scholar
  80. 144).
    Drake (1996).Google Scholar
  81. 145).
    Birch, 4, p. 67.Google Scholar
  82. 146).
    Lectures and Collections (1678). In the Diary for 27 January 1677/8 Hooke wrote “Finisht Comet papers.”Google Scholar
  83. 147) “Cometa,” p. 229–230.Google Scholar
  84. 148).
    In March 1664/5 Pepys recorded in his diary that “...Mr. Hooke read a very curious treatise about the late comett... proving very probably that this is the very same comett that appeared before in the year 1618...” (The Diary of Samuel Pepys, 1 March 1664/5. Halley’s later conclusion that the comets of 1304, 1380, 1456, 1531, and 1607 were one and the same, was published in his Synopsis (Halley, 1704–5). One should add that while Hooke’s conjecture had some empirical basis, Halley’s was based on an orbital calculation. This idea of cometary periodicity may have been anticipated by Pythagoras, Hippocrates, second-century rabbinical scholars, etc.Google Scholar
  85. 149).
    Which, incidentally, is correct, since a comet has a dust tail which reflects sunlight and a gas or ion tail which emits its own light. PW , 165.Google Scholar
  86. 151).
    And later, “By Gravity ... I understand such a Power, as causes Bodies of a similar or homogeneous nature to be moved one towards the other ... The Universality of this Principle, throughout the the whole and everything therein, I shall afterwards have more occasion to explain.” PW , p. 176. See Chapter 10, where we quote this again.Google Scholar
  87. 152).
    The controversy began on 26 October 1681 and continued, with interruptions, into February. The question of generating curves — great circles, helices, etc. — on planes, cones, and so on, was an important interest of Hooke’s in this period. After several related demonstrations by Hooke, Flamsteed objected on 15 February to Hooke’s method of generating a parabola. As Birch has it, Flamsteed “... cavilled against the method shewn by Mr. Hooke...”. Eventually, after seeing Hooke’s method again, “the president [Wren] declared to the Society, that it was true and certain”. (Birch , 4. p. 100, 101, 118, 122, 129.) There is no evidence that they ever reconciled.Google Scholar
  88. 154).
    Birch , 4, 154.Google Scholar
  89. 155).
    23 July 1684; Birch , 4, 318. Flamsteed was one of seven members of the Council present at the meeting. Hooke was not on the Council in 1683–4, but was returned in November 1684 and Flamsteed was voted off.Google Scholar
  90. 156).
    Birch , 4, 513.Google Scholar
  91. 160).
    Bethlehem or “Bedlam” Hospital, the College of Physicians, and The Monument were all completed in the late 1670s. The work on Ragley Hall, Willen Church, and Montague House (see Stoesser, 2006) was finished by about 1680. Between 1676 and 1693 Hooke did repairs on Westminster Abbey and the school, and other projects are recounted in the later Diary.Google Scholar
  92. 163).
    Which were evidently in Oldenburg’s possession at his death. See Adams and Jardine (2006). As currently bound (by Derham?) they are somewhat crambled chronologically, which creates only the most modest difficulty.Google Scholar
  93. 165).
    Diary , 24 Dec. 1677 and 27 Jan. 1677/78. On the latter date a trunk containing “19 bundells, 1 Letter book, 1 pocket book ...” was received. Hooke, of course had two motivations, to secure the archives of the Society, and to uncover what he saw as Oldenburg’s duplicity.Google Scholar
  94. 170).
    Micrographia, p. 54.Google Scholar
  95. 172).
    Pepys said, of the Micrographia, that it was “the most ingenious book that I ever read in my life.” (Diary , 21 January 1665).Google Scholar

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