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Micrographia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


This article is about the book. For the medical term, see Micrographia (handwriting). For artwork
"drawn" with lines of minute characters, see Micrography.

Micrographia

Title page of Micrographia

Author Robert Hooke

Original title Micrographia: or Some Physiological

Descriptions of Minute Bodies Made by

Magnifying Glasses. With Observations and

Inquiries Thereupon

Country Great Britain

Language English

Genre Microscopy

Publisher The Royal Society


Publication January 1665
date

Micrographia: or Some Phyiological Decriptions of Minute Bodies Made by Magnifying


Glasses. With Observations and Inquiries Thereupon. is a historically significant book
by Robert Hooke about his observations through various lenses. It is particularly notable for being
the first book to illustrate insects, plants etc. as seen through microscopes. Published in January
1665, the first major publication of the Royal Society, it became the first scientific best-seller[citation
needed]
, inspiring a wide public interest in the new science of microscopy. It is also notable for
coining the biological term cell.

Contents
[hide]

1Observations
2Reception
3Methods
4Bibliography
5References
6External links

Observations[edit]
Hooke most famously describes a fly's eye and a plant cell (where he coined that term because
plant cells, which are walled, reminded him of the cells in a honeycomb[1]). Known for its
spectacular copperplate engravings of the miniature world, particularly its fold-out plates
of insects, the text itself reinforces the tremendous power of the new microscope. The plates of
insects fold out to be larger than the large folio itself, the engraving of the louse in particular
folding out to four times the size of the book. Although the book is best known for demonstrating
the power of the microscope, Micrographia also describes distant planetary bodies, the wave
theory of light, the organic origin of fossils, and other philosophical and scientific interests of its
author.
Hooke also selected several objects of human origin; among these objects were the jagged edge
of a honed razor and the point of a needle, seeming blunt under the microscope. His goal may
well have been as a way to contrast the flawed products of mankind with the perfection of nature
(and hence, in the spirit of the times, of biblical creation).[2]

Gallery

Microscope manufactured by Christopher White of London for Robert Hooke. Hooke is believed to
have used this microscope for the observations that formed the basis of Micrographia. (M-030 00276)
Courtesy - Billings Microscope Collection, National Museum of Health and Medicine, AFIP).

Hooke's drawing of a louse

Hooke's drawing of a flea

Hooke's microscope.

Hooke was the first to apply the word "cell" to biological objects: Cork.

Hooke's drawing of a gnat.

Hooke's drawing of a grey dronefly.

Reception[edit]
Published under the aegis of The Royal Society, the popularity of the book helped further the
society's image and mission of being the UK's leading scientific organization. Micrographia's
illustrations of the miniature world captured the public's imagination in a radically new
way; Samuel Pepys called it "the most ingenious book that I ever read in my life."[3]

Methods[edit]
In 2007, Janice Neri, a professor of art history and visual culture, studied Hooke's artistic
influences and processes with the help of some newly rediscovered notes and drawings that
appear to show some of his work leading up to Micrographia.[4] She observes, "Hooke's use of the
term "schema" to identify his plates indicates that he approached his images in
a diagrammatic manner and implies the study or visual dissection of the objects portrayed."
Identifying Hooke's schema as 'organization tools,' she emphasizes:[5]
Hooke built up his images from numerous observations made from multiple vantage points, under
varying lighting conditions, and with lenses of differing powers. Similarly his specimens required a
great deal of manipulation and preparation in order to make them visible through the microscope.
Additionally: "Hooke often enclosed the objects he presented within a round frame, thus offering
viewers an evocation of the experience of looking through the lens of a microscope."[5]

Bibliography[edit]
Robert Hooke. Micrographia: or, Some physiological descriptions of minute bodies made by
magnifying glasses. London: J. Martyn and J. Allestry, 1665. (first edition).
References[edit]
1. Jump up^ "... I could exceedingly plainly perceive it to be all perforated and porous, much like a
Honey-comb, but that the pores of it were not regular [..] these pores, or cells, [..] were indeed the
first microscopical pores I ever saw, and perhaps, that were ever seen, for I had not met with any
Writer or Person, that had made any mention of them before this. . ." Hooke describing his
observations on a thin slice of cork. Robert Hooke
2. Jump up^ Fara P (June 2009). "A microscopic reality tale". Nature. 459 (4 June 2009): 642
644. Bibcode:2009Natur.459..642F. PMID 19494897. doi:10.1038/459642a.
3. Jump up^ "Samuel Pepys Diary, 21 January 1665". Retrieved 13 December 2015.
4. Jump up^ Sample, Ian (8 February 2006). "Eureka! Lost manuscript found in
cupboard". http://www.theguardian.com. The Guardian. Retrieved 16 January 2014. External link
in |website= (help)
5. ^ Jump up to:a b Neri, Janice (2008). "Between Observation and Image: Representations of Insects
in Robert Hooke's Micrographia". In O'Malley, Therese; Meyers, Amy R. W. The Art of Natural
History. National Gallery of Art. pp. 83107. ISBN 978-0-300-16024-6.