9 Annotations

dirk  •  Link

Hooke on the plague

ref. http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1665/06/29/#c22...

On “Exploring our archives” (the “Blog from the Royal Society, the UK and Commonwealth academy of science”) there is an item that refers to the “Waller Collection from Uppsala University”, stating that

“It includes a letter from Hooke to his friend the MP, natural philosopher and antiquary James Long dated 1688 in which he discusses the auctioning of books, sends a new history of China along with some ‘very considerable relations’ of earthquakes in Peru, China, Spain, and India. Hooke puts forward a theory that ‘the Poysenous Exhalations that Issue from such Eruptions may have caused those Distempers in the seasons and constitutions of the air and euen of the helth of People, though in Countrys very Remote, which haue accompanyd them or been always contemporary’. He goes on to speculate that such noxious fumes might have contributed to the ‘Aguish distemper’ then affecting people in England and France, as well as to the plague spreading in Germany. Hooke was of course correct to assume that the effects of earthquakes could have long-term effects on public health through environmental contamination, although inaccurate in linking them to the plague.”


JWB  •  Link

"One conclusion based on the evidence stands out. Hooke was recognized as a person dependant upon others, as a person of at best compromised freedom of action, of ambiguous autonomy, and of doubful integrity."

Bill  •  Link

HOOKE, ROBERT (1635-1703), experimental philosopher; educated at Westminster under Busby and at Christ Church, Oxford; M.A., 1663; assisted Thomas Willis in his chemistry and Robert Boyle with his air-pump; elected curator of experiments to Royal Society, 1662; F.R.S., 1663; secretary, 1677-82; Gresham professor of geometry, 1665; as surveyor of London designed Montague House, Bethlehem Hospital and College of Physicians; in his 'Micrographia' (1665) pointed out real nature of combustion; proposed to measure force of gravity by swinging of pendulum, 1666; showed experimentally that centre of gravity of earth and moon is the point describing an ellipse round the sun; in astronomy discovered fifth star in Orion, 1664, inferred rotation of Jupiter, 1664, first observed a star by daylight, and made earliest attempts (1669) at telescopic determination of parallax of a fixed star; in optics helped Newton by hints; first applied spiral spring to regulate watches; expounded true theory of elasticity and kinetic hypothesis of gases, 1678; his anticipation of law of inverse squares admitted by Newton; first asserted true principle of the arch; constructed first Gregorian telescope, 1674; described a system of telegraphy, 1684; invented marine barometer and other instruments; posthumous works edited by R. Waller, 1705, and Derham, 1726.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

Bill  •  Link

With Hooke then through your microscope take aim,
Where, like the new Comptroller, all men laugh,
To see a tall louse brandish a white staff;
---The Last Instructions to a Painter About the Dutch Wars, 1667. Andrew Marvel.

Bill  •  Link

"What Descartes did was a good step. You have added much several ways, and especially in taking the colours of thin plates into philosophical consideration. If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."
---Isaac Newton to Robert Hooke, 1676

Some have suggested that this is actually a veiled insult to Hooke, who was described as a man of "crooked and low stature." Probably not so since Newton seems to be including Descartes as a "Giant" also.

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