index to Blue plaques
While at Oxford he acted as assistant to Robert Boyle, constructing the air
pump for him. He made many discoveries, including his law of elasticity,
showed that thermal expasion is a general property of matter,
designed a balance spring for use in watches. In 1665 he published
Micrographia which was a fully illustrated account of his investigations
with his improved microscope. It also contained theories of colour, and of
light, which he suggested was wavelike.
He was also a capable architect having written the theory of the arch and
designed a method of constructing the dome of St Paul's cathedral for his
friend Christopher Wren. He also designed an improved plan for rebuilding
London afer the great fire, but his rival Isaac Newton refused to add
Hooke's name to the Monument commemmorating the rebulding. Fortunately,
during the redevelopment of the Monument Yard in 2007, a memorial granite
paving stone was carved which acknowledges Hooke's work as "Natural
Philosopher & England's Leonardo. Horologist Astronomer Microscopist
Geologist Physiologist Architect".
- Robert Hooke
- Born: 18 July 1635 Freshwater, Isle of Wight
- Died: 3 March 1703 Gresham College, London
- Educated at Westminster School and Christchurch, Oxford
- 1662 First Curator of Experiments at the Royal Society, London
- Room at IOP headquarters named after him.
- Other memorials are listed on the
There is now a Robert Hooke Society with Headquarters at The Island Planetarium, Fort Victoria, the Isle of Wight. They have a
website with pages describing
further monuments to him, including the Biodiversity Bell on the Dorset coast
commemmorating his discovery of fossils in Portland stone of now extinct animals and the 'Robert Hooke Trail' describing his activities
in a walk beside the River Yar in the Isle of WIght.
Further details can be found in:
The Man Who Knew Too Much. The Strange and Inventive life of Robert Hooke 1635 - 1703 by Stephen Inwood. Publisher: Macmillan 2002
ISDN 0 333 78286 0
Page last updated 19 December 2014