The Curious Life of Robert Hooke

The Curious Life of Robert Hooke

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“Fascinating. . . . Jardine takes a complex view, according Hooke with the respect and dignity that eluded him for so long. . . [and] with this compelling and empathetic portrait, she succeeds in making a convincing case for his place in history. . . [as] a founding father in Europe’s scientific revolution.”   — Los Angeles TimesThe brilliant, largely forgotten maverick Robert Hooke was an engineer, surveyor, architect, and inventor who worked tirelessly with his intimate friend Christopher Wren to rebuild London after the Great Fire of 1666. He was the first Curator of Experiments at the Royal Society, and his engravings of natural phenomena seen under the new microscope appeared in his masterpiece, the acclaimed Micrographia, one of the most influential volumes of the day.

But Hooke’s irascible temper and his passionate idealism proved fatal for his relationships with important political figures, most notably Sir Isaac Newton: their quarrel is legendary. As a result, historical greatness eluded Robert Hooke. Eminent historian Lisa Jardine does this original thinker of indefatigable curiosity and imagination justice and allows him to take his place as a major figure in the seventeenth century intellectual and scientific revolution.

The brilliant, largely forgotten maverick Robert Hooke was an engineer, surveyor, architect, and inventor who worked tirelessly with his intimate friend Christopher Wren to rebuild London after the Great Fire of 1666.He was the first Curator of Experiments at the Royal Society, and his engravings of natural phenomena seen under the new microscope appeared in his masterpiece, the acclaimed Micrographia, one of the most influential volumes of the day.

But Hooke’s irascible temper and his passionate idealism provedfatal for his relationships with important political figures, most notably Sir Isaac Newton: their quarrel is legendary. As a result, historical greatness eluded Robert Hooke. Now, eminent historian Lisa Jardine does this original thinker of indefatigable curiosity and imagination justice and allows him to take his place as a major figure in the seventeenth century intellectual and scientific revolution.

“[Jardine’s] well-documented presentation of Hooke’s relations with the scientific community of a late 17th-century London he helped to reshape is a tour de force – social history as well as biography.” “Fascinating … Jardine takes a complex view, according Hooke with the respect and dignity that eluded him for so long …[and] with this compelling and empathetic portrait, she succeeds in making a convincing case for his place in history …[as] a founding father in Europe’s scientific revolution.” “[Jardine] … convincingly restores [Hooke] to a prominent position in 17th century cultural life, as one of the brilliant polymaths who made London a capital of modern science and as a leader among the dedicated citizens who raised their city from the ashes.” “[Jardine’s] lucid and easy-reading prose paints a vivid portrait of a curiously overlooked historical figure.” “Hook was undoubtedly one of the great polymaths of his age. From chemistry and clock making to architecture and inventing, mathematics and monuments, the recklessly unspecialized Hooke combined practical genius with a formidable intellect…. Jardine’s biography… is a wonderful testament to … [Hooke’s] unacknowledged greatness, one that spurs us to grant Hooke the recognition he surely deserves.” “Sure to become the standard life of Hooke.” “First rate … both learned and delightfully readable.” “Imaginative, fluent and scholarly … it helps round out our understanding of a man who is both famous and simultaneously unknown, even unknowable.” “Thrilling…Jardine comes up with some startling discoveries…[and] is excellent at placing Wren in the historical and intellectual context of his time.”

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Weight 16 oz
Dimensions 1 × 6 × 9 in