Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

what did isaac newton have to do with robert hooke?

I know they had a feud but what was the feud about?

Also, what else did he have to do with robert hooke?

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It is often suggested that not only did Newton "borrow" ideas from Hooke, he wasn't always inclined ... to give Hooke as much credit as he deserved. In fact there is evidence to suggest that Hooke had a more accurate picture of gravity and planetary motion than did Newton. Yet it is Newton who we think of when it comes to both.

    We often refer to Newtonian physics yet Hooke had done much of the work that made Newton's work possible. Robert Hooke was definitely recognized in his day. For example he was appointed curator of experiments for the New Royal Society on the 5th November 1662 a post he held for 40 years. The year Hooke died in 1703, Isaac Newton became (some say finagled his way into) President of the Royal Society.

    It may be a coincidence but the only known portrait of Hooke which had been housed in the President's office, was mysteriously lost as were the records of much of Hooke's work. In Newton's defense it could be argued that the lack of acknowledgment for Robert Hooke and his contribution to science could be blamed on Hooke himself.

    Being a polymath, involved with many diverse projects, experiments, explorations, and activities he may not have always followed through with proper publication of his work. He was above all a hands-on experimenter who made significant contributions to microscopy, optics, time keeping, geography, meteorology, the nature of gases, architecture and construction to name but a few. He was also inclined to freely share his thoughts with others such as Van Leeuwenhoek, Robert Boyle and Christopher Wren.

    Newton by contrast was a mathematician and as a consequence was very detailed is his writings. In addition, as related by James Gleick in his recent biography of Newton, he was inclined to be secretive and did not share Hooke's gregarious and ingenuous personality. Neither man got an auspicious start in life. Newton's father had died before he was born and he did not have a robust constitution.

    Although Hooke did know his parents, he was orphaned by age 13. Like Newton, he was thin and spare and in addition, by all accounts just plain ugly. Yet he carried on a lively correspondence with Van Leeuwenhoek and others. Since Hooke didn't speak Dutch and Van Leeuwenhoek didn't speak English they worked through an interpreter by name of Theodore Haak.

    In addition he corresponded with Robert Boyle, Christopher Wren and Newton. He was also in touch with another dutchman, Christiaan Huygens although that relationship like that with Newton, deteriorated into bitter acrimony later in life (in the case of Huygens over the invention of the balance-spring watch). Anyway, enough of the personality clashes, what did either man contribute to our science?

    Alexander Pope one of the great poets of the Enlightenment, was given to enthuse "Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night; God said, Let Newton be! and all was light." This gives you some idea of Newton's stature. In fact, he is generally regarded as the most original and influential theorist in the history of science.

    In addition to his invention of the calculus and a new theory of light and color, Newton transformed the structure of physical science with his three laws of motion and the law of universal gravitation. Newton's work combined the contributions of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, and others into a new and powerful synthesis.

    Newton's efforts were the first tentative steps toward a theory of everything. Though the inadequacies of his theories eventually became apparent because of Einstein and the ramifications of Quantum mechanics, as a working model it was pretty adequate. In fact most people today still think of the world in Newtonian terms. That may not be the huge tragedy suggested by some.

    Anyone seriously interested in science will soon discover that Newton has been eclipsed by events. Even so his contribution to science was enormous and giving some of the credit to others won't diminish that in the slightest. It should be noted for example that much work on the calculus was done by Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz. Leibniz was in turn influenced by none other than Christiaan Huygens. So you see, science is never a one-man-show. Which brings us back to Robert Hooke.

    By some accounts, Hooke was perhaps the single greatest experimental scientist of the seventeenth century. His interests knew no bounds. They ranged from physics and astronomy, to chemistry, biology, and geology as well as architecture and naval technology. He collaborated or corresponded with scientists as diverse as Christian Huygens, Antony van Leeuwenhoek, Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, and of course, Isaac Newton.

    This is only a snippet. There is much, much more at the link below:


    Source(s): Yahoo! Group: All are welcome!
  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Robert Hooke And Isaac Newton

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