All physicists are familiar with Hooke's law of springs, but few will know of his theory of combustion, that his Micrographia was the first book on microscopy, that his astronomical observations were some of the best seen at the time, that he contributed to the knowledge of respiration, insect flight and the properties of gases, that his work on gravitation preceded that of Newton's, that he invented the universal joint, and that he was an architect of distinction and a surveyor for the City of London after the Great Fire.
England's Leonardo is a biography of Hooke covering all aspects of his work, from his early life on the Isle of Wight through his time at Oxford University, where he became part of a group who would form the original Fellowship of the Royal Society. The author adopts a novel approach at this stage, dividing the book by chapter according to the fields of research-Physiology, Engineering, Microscopy, Astronomy, Geology, and Optics-in which Hooke applied himself. The book concludes with a chapter considering the legacy of Hooke and his impact on science.
Table of Contents
Early Life: the Prodigy from the Isle of Wight
Breathing, Burning and Flying: Hooke's Scientific Apprenticeship
The Curator of Experiments
Microscopes and Meteorology
Hooke and the Astronomers
Medicine and Physiology
Surveyor to the City of London
A World Turned Upside Down: Hooke's Geological Ideas
A World of Mechanism
A Realm of Vibration: of Flight, Spring, Watches and Music
A Large Window … into the Shop of Nature: Hooke and Light
From Pendulums to Planets: Experiments and the Understanding of Gravity
Friends, Mistresses, Religion and Politics: Hooke's Inner World
Death and Historical Legacy
"The book is written with enthusiasm, and is perhaps at its strongest in its hands-on account of Hooke's scientific practice. Chapman has actually tried to replicate Hooke's experiments using comparable equipment."
-Times Literary Supplement, Michael Hunter
"Allan Chapman has written a biography rich in detail. In England's Leonardo Chapman does him (Robert Hooke) proud."
-Roy Herbert, New Scientist, April 2005
"Allan Chapman's enthusiasm for Hooke comes over 'loud and clear' in this scholarly work, which comprehensively guides us from his birth … to his death. Allan Chapman's essential biography, well researched as it is, fills in many of the holes created by Newton and his followers (or gaps in Hooke's own diaries), sets the life in historical, social, and scientific contexts, and draws very welcome conclusions as to the legacy of Robert Hooke. This is a volume to keep handy for reference, with copious notes at the end; but it is also one to enjoy and to treasure as a document setting the record straight."
-David Stickland, The Observatory, Vol. 125, No. 1186, June 2005
"This, the latest work on Robert Hooke, is probably the definitive biography and more than justifies a place in any scholarly library. Chapman is master of his subject and he draws the reader into the details and the physics producing compelling narrative packed with information."
-A review essay by Howard Dawes, January 2005
"…erudite and fascinating study of an important genius, truly 'England's Leonardo.'"
-E-Streams, Vol. 8, No. 5, May 2005
"…very detailed, with all the important ideas and concepts thoroughly discussed and demonstrated … . a welcome presence on the research lab bookshelves, and would hopefully show signs of much use."
-Physical Sciences Educational Reviews, June, 2005