Hooke, Robert


Hooke, Robert
born July 18, 1635, Freshwater, Isle of Wight, Eng.
died March 3, 1703, London

English physicist.

From 1665 he taught at Oxford University. His achievements and theories were bewilderingly diverse. His important law of elasticity, known as Hooke's law (1660), states that the stretching of a solid is proportional to the force applied to it. He was one of the first to build and use a reflecting telescope. He suggested that Jupiter rotates on its axis, and his detailed sketches of Mars were later used to determine its rate of rotation. He suggested that a pendulum could be used to measure gravitation, and he attempted to show that the Earth and Moon follow an elliptical orbit around the Sun. He discovered diffraction and proposed the wave theory of light to explain it. He was one of the first proponents of the theory of evolution. He was the first to state in general that all matter expands when heated and that air is made up of particles separated from each other by relatively large distances. He invented a marine barometer, contributed improvements to clocks, the quadrant, and the universal joint, and anticipated the steam engine.

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▪ British scientist
born July 18, 1635, Freshwater, Isle of Wight, Eng.
died March 3, 1703, London

      English physicist who discovered the law of elasticity, known as Hooke's law, and who did research in a remarkable variety of fields.

      In 1655 Hooke was employed by Robert Boyle (Boyle, Robert) to construct the Boylean air pump. Five years later, Hooke discovered his law of elasticity, which states that the stretching of a solid body (e.g., metal, wood) is proportional to the force applied to it. The law laid the basis for studies of stress and strain and for understanding of elastic materials. He applied these studies in his designs for the balance springs of watches. In 1662 he was appointed curator of experiments to the Royal Society of London and was elected a fellow the following year.

 One of the first men to build a Gregorian reflecting telescope, Hooke discovered the fifth star in the Trapezium, an asterism in the constellation Orion, in 1664 and first suggested that Jupiter rotates on its axis. His detailed sketches of Mars were used in the 19th century to determine that planet's rate of rotation. In 1665 he was appointed professor of geometry in Gresham College. In Micrographia (1665; “Small Drawings”) he included his studies and illustrations of the crystal structure of snowflakes, discussed the possibility of manufacturing artificial fibres by a process similar to the spinning of the silkworm, and first used the word cell to name the microscopic honeycomb cavities in cork. His studies of microscopic fossils led him to become one of the first proponents of a theory of evolution.

      He suggested that the force of gravity could be measured by utilizing the motion of a pendulum (1666) and attempted to show that the Earth and Moon follow an elliptical path around the Sun. In 1672 he discovered the phenomenon of diffraction (the bending of light rays around corners); to explain it, he offered the wave theory of light. He stated the inverse square law to describe planetary motions in 1678, a law that Newton (Newton, Sir Isaac) later used in modified form. Hooke complained that he was not given sufficient credit for the law and became involved in bitter controversy with Newton. Hooke was the first man to state in general that all matter expands when heated and that air is made up of particles separated from each other by relatively large distances.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hooke,Robert — Hooke (ho͝ok), Robert. 1635 1703. English physicist, inventor, and mathematician who formulated the theory of planetary movement. * * * …   Universalium

  • Hooke , Robert — (1635–1703) English physicist Hooke, whose father was a clergyman from Freshwater on the Isle of Wight, was educated at Oxford University. While at Oxford he acted as assistant to Robert Boyle, constructing the air pump for him. In 1662 Boyle… …   Scientists

  • Hooke, Robert — ► (1635 1703) Físico inglés. Descubrió la quinta estrella de la constelación de Orión (1664) y que podía medirse la fuerza gravitatoria con un péndulo. * * * (18 jul. 1635, Freshwater, isla de Wight, Inglaterra–3 mar. 1703, Londres). Físico… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • HOOKE, ROBERT —    natural philosopher, born at Freshwater, Isle of Wight; was associated with Boyle in the construction of the air pump, and in 1665 became professor of Geometry in Gresham College, London; was a man of remarkable inventiveness, and quick to… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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