It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.

Friday, June 6, 2008

"I Do here most humbly...

...lay this small Present at Your Majesties Royal feet." That is how Richard Hooke's dedication to King Charles II begins in Micrographia (published 1665 in London).
Robert Hooke, (1635 – 1703) was an English natural philosopher who played an important role in the scientific revolution.
He is considered "the father of microscopy" because of his book Micrographia — Hooke also coined the term "cell" to describe the basic unit of life, further he is known for the Hooke’s law (law of elasticity).
As a youth, Robert Hooke was fascinated by observation and drawing, interests that would be pursued in various ways throughout his life. He learned to draw, making his own materials from coal, chalk and ruddle (a red earthy hematite used as a pigment).
(Image above: Hooke's microscope)

(Poppy seeds and seeds of Thyme, illustrated by Robert Hooke, 1665)
In this book Hooke describes minute bodies, such as point of a sharp small needle (observ. 1), different textiles (observ. 3,4,5), he studied colors (observ. 9, 10), Cork – discovery of Cells (observ. 18), moss (observ. 21), nettles (observ. 25), seeds (observ. 28-30) etc.
This is the first microscopic documentation of seeds, you can read more here... (two chapters copied from Micrographia)
You can read the whole Micrographia as an e-book published now by The Project Guttenberg. Scroll all the way to the end and you can see the fantastic illustrations. The descriptions are equally fantastic, after the first sentence you don't want to miss a word.

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