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The Man Who Knew Too Much: The strange and Inventive Life of Robert Hooke, 1635 - 1703 Paperback – 15 Aug 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 497 pages
  • Publisher: Pan (15 Aug. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330488295
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330488297
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 692,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Dr Stephen Inwood was born in London in 1947, and was educated at Dulwich College and at Balliol and St Antony's College, Oxford. For twenty-six years he was a college and university history lecturer, but he became a professional writer in 1999, after the publication of A History of London. He also holds posts at Kingston University and at New York University in London. He lives in Richmond, west London, with his wife and three sons.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr. H. A. Jones TOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Man Who Knew Too Much: The strange and inventive life of Robert Hooke 1635-1703,
By Stephen Inwood, Macmillan, 2002, 514 ff.

Robert Hooke - an Enlightenment polymath
By Howard Jones

This is a comprehensive biography of one of the most versatile of the early scientists. Although few of his discoveries and inventions are known to us today in the form in which Hooke discovered or devised them, since other scientists completed, refined or expanded on his early work, his work formed the foundation of scientific developments in many different fields. Stephen Inwood is a former lecturer in history and now a full-time writer.

Inwood takes us in painstaking detail through all aspects of Hooke's life and the very many projects in which he was involved: sometimes I felt that this degree of detail obscured the significance of some of Hooke's achievements. His principal employer throughout his life was the then newly founded Royal Society; but he worked also at Gresham College and was personal assistant to another famous scientist, Robert Boyle. Hooke was a contemporary of Isaac Newton, but Hooke was not strong in mathematics, so this is where Newton triumphed. Hooke was involved in so very many projects that he usually did not have the time to complete many of them.

Hooke favoured the wave theory of light while Newton thought of light as particles, and the wave theory was subsequently (until Einstein's work) to dominate. Hooke devised an early thermometer, barometer, hygrometer and pocket watch. It was he who designed and built the equipment that Boyle used to establish the gas law named after him; and Hooke established his own law of elasticity in strings and springs.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Simon R. Waters on 29 Oct. 2008
Format: Paperback
Found it is great introduction to what life was like for a great scientist at a most interesting time in the history of England, London and science. Covers Hooke's role in the rebuilding of London after the great fire, his work for the Royal (and not so Royal during the republican period) Society.

Relatively easy reading, and I keep find I'm referring back to things I read in this book. A book I wouldn't have bought for myself, but thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A thorough and balanced biography of a fascinating character who arguably outdoes Leonardo Da Vinci as a polymath. Among the multitude of interests and skills that he demonstrated, it maps his many roles in the rebuiilding of London after the great fire - part designer, part project manager and frequently negotiator and problem solver - and is a good attempt to untangle the complex web of scientific collaboration, rivalry and secrecy to understand his part in some of the greatest scientific developments of the 17th century.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good biography of an eminent scientist/ engineer/ inventor who according to the author kept his fellow Royal Society colleagues entertained while at the same time justifying the Societies existence with his prolific discoveries and experiments. At times it is humorous and insightful, especially when describing the characters personal habits and daily chores. The graphic reproductions are clear, but they could do with being accompanied by further explanation.
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