|Hooke, Robert (1635-1703)|
scientist and inventor, originator of Hooke's law, and considered the foremost
mechanic of his time. His inventions included a telegraph system, the spirit
level, marine barometer, and sea gauge. He coined the term 'cell' in biology.
He studied elasticity, furthered the sciences of mechanics and microscopy, invented the hairspring regulator in timepieces, perfected the air pump, and helped improve such scientific instruments as microscopes, telescopes, and barometers. His work on gravitation and in optics contributed to the achievements of his contemporary Isaac Newton.
Hooke was born in Freshwater on the Isle of Wight and educated at Oxford, where he became assistant to Irish physicist Robert Boyle. Moving to London 1663, he became curator of the newly established Royal Society, which entailed demonstrating new experiments at weekly meetings. He was also professor of geometry at Gresham College, London, from 1665.
In geology, Hooke insisted, against the prevailing, Bible-bound view, that fossils are the remains of plants and animals that existed long ago.
Hooke also designed several buildings, including the College of Physicians, London.