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Robert Hooke

Scientist and Polymath.

Best known for Hooke's Law and coining the term cell for describing biological organisms.

Hooke studied at Wadham College during the Protectorate where he became one of a tightly knit group of ardent Royalists centred around 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, observed the rotations of Mars and Jupiter and, based on his observations of fossils, 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 deducing that gravity follows an inverse square law, and 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.

Possible Source:

1.) Robert Hooke and the English Renaissance. Gracewing Publishing. 2005. pp. 26-27. ISBN 9780852445877. "It seems possible that the mature Hooke may have been something of a Deist: a man who believed in and revered the Great Creator God, but who may have been quietly sceptical on such points as the Incarnation, the Resurrection, and the Sacraments. But very importantly, he seems to have kept his inner thoughts to himself, and probably steered clear of religious questions even when drinking coffee with friends who were deans and bishops. ...One suspects, however, that the undisclosed privacy of Robert Hooke's personal beliefs on matters of religion was best summed up by Waller when he said: 'If he was particular in some Matters, let us leave him to the searcher of Hearts.'"

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