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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight into life in Hooke's time
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...
Published on 29 Oct 2008 by Mr. Simon R. Waters

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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting subject
Clearly there's a lot people don't know about Hooke or this book would never have been written. A lot is made of his bad character, but what seems to come out is his pride in his ability, and the many friends he did make who stayed with him throughout his life.
It's an interesting story and the book holds your interest, although the timelines do jump about a bit...
Published on 21 Sep 2005 by John Brown


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight into life in Hooke's time, 29 Oct 2008
By 
Mr. Simon R. Waters (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Man Who Knew Too Much: The strange and Inventive Life of Robert Hooke, 1635 - 1703 (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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Robert Hooke - Enlightenment polymath, 3 Mar 2010
By 
Dr. H. A. Jones "Howard Jones" (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Man Who Knew Too Much: The strange and Inventive Life of Robert Hooke, 1635 - 1703 (Paperback)
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. His treatise "Micrographia" is a seminal work, not only on microscopy but dealing with geology and astronomy as well. He realised that fossils were the remains of previously living creatures and that geological formations had not been static since Creation (Hooke was nominally a Christian); only a century or so after Copernicus, Hooke was one of the first to attribute the orbits of the planets around the sun to gravity. In addition to the massive amount of scientific work he achieved, Hooke was also a competent architect and assistant to Christopher Wren in the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire of 1666. It was Hooke who designed and oversaw the building of the Monument to the Great Fire in London.

This book gives scientific detail only in the broadest terms, so it is quite accessible to non-scientists. It also gives a fascinating picture of London life at the time of the Great Plague and Great Fire, and many of Hooke's contemporaries, like Newton, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes and Samuel Pepys are met in context. For those interested in the history of science or the social history of the time, this is an invaluable book. There is a substantial list of Notes and References and an Index.

Dr Howard A. Jones is the author of The Thoughtful Guide to God (2006) and The Tao of Holism (2008), both published by O Books of Winchester, UK.

Science and Theology since Copernicus
The Birth of Modern Science (Making of Europe)
The Making of Modern Science
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4.0 out of 5 stars it maps his many roles in the rebuiilding of London after the great fire - part designer, 25 July 2014
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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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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting subject, 21 Sep 2005
By 
John Brown (Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Man Who Knew Too Much: The strange and Inventive Life of Robert Hooke, 1635 - 1703 (Paperback)
Clearly there's a lot people don't know about Hooke or this book would never have been written. A lot is made of his bad character, but what seems to come out is his pride in his ability, and the many friends he did make who stayed with him throughout his life.
It's an interesting story and the book holds your interest, although the timelines do jump about a bit which can be confusing. There's not a lot of science in it, and it focusses much more on Hooke the person. There's some interesting details on life in 17th century London too.
Overall, a good read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How can you know too much?, 7 Oct 2009
By 
Stephen Holmes "Stephen the Manx-man" (Douglas, Ellan Vannin) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Man Who Knew Too Much: The strange and Inventive Life of Robert Hooke, 1635 - 1703 (Paperback)
Stephen Inwood's book is superb (in my opinion).
I wanted to learn about the life of an intellectual in the seventeenth century, and I was not disappointed. The author describes the many dificulties faced by this "strange" man, and the efforts he went to in order to overcome them.
There are so many books that everybody must read; this is one of them.
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