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17th Century Microscope Book Is Now Freely Readable

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the creating-the-first-germaphobes dept.

Google 116

menno_h writes "In January 1665, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary that he stayed up till two in the morning reading a best-selling page-turner, a work that he called 'the most ingenious book I read in my life.' It was not a rousing history of English battles or a proto-bodice ripper. It was filled with images: of fleas, of bark, of the edges of razors. The book was called Micrographia. It provided the reading public with its first look at the world beyond the naked eye. Its author, Robert Hooke, belonged to a brilliant circle of natural philosophers who — among many other things — were the first in England to make serious use of microscopes as scientific instruments. They were great believers in looking at the natural world for themselves rather than relying on what ancient Greek scholars had claimed. Looking under a microscope at the thousands of facets on an insect's compound eye, they saw things at the nanoscale that Aristotle could not have dreamed of. A razor's edge became a mountain range. In the chambers of a piece of bark, Hooke saw the first evidence of cells. Micrographia is is available on Google Books now."

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WoW! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41738415)

I've been waiting for this.

Re:WoW! (2)

Lord Lode (1290856) | about 2 years ago | (#41738803)

I skimmed through it, and this book is quite amazing! Almost 400 years old and still you can learn from it. I didn't know books like this were around back then. It looks almost modern.

Re:WoW! (-1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#41740441)

... and yet it is so not modern. If you haven't read things from that era previously, you will find this a very difficult read.

Terrible typesetting notwithstanding (seriously, are they using an f in place of an s?

Re:WoW! (4, Informative)

Fallingcow (213461) | about 2 years ago | (#41740843)

Terrible typesetting notwithstanding (seriously, are they using an f in place of an s?

Are you trolling, or are you seriously not aware of the Long S [wikipedia.org] ?

It was used when a lower-case S occurred anywhere but the end of a word, much like the two lower case forms of the greek letter sigma [wikipedia.org] .

Re:WoW! (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#41741201)

Why would I be aware of that? I was born in the 1900s.

Re:WoW! (2)

Spugglefink (1041680) | about 2 years ago | (#41742833)

Why would I be aware of that? I was born in the 1900s.

Uhh, you'd be aware of that because you were, uhhh, well educated? Just going out on a limb here.

Re:WoW! (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#41744125)

I was well educated. Care to test that with non-specialized knowledge?

Re:WoW! (1)

Sfing_ter (99478) | about 2 years ago | (#41740373)

Neal Stephenson, is that you???

Re:WoW! (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#41741875)

Well, it just exited copyright protection last week...

17th Century? (5, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#41738419)

Did the copyright finally expire?

Re:17th Century? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41738475)

Don't worry they'll revoke it soon enough.

Re:17th Century? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41738629)

I guess the last of his descendents died 90 years ago....

Re:17th Century? (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#41738939)

Sadly it was made before Jack Valenti could get his "forever minus a single day" copyright laws passed. Won't someone think of the corporations? Why people are actually READING without writing them a check!

Re:17th Century? (5, Insightful)

Kirth (183) | about 2 years ago | (#41739429)

Yep, I don't understand why this is news, and why that book hasn't been available electronically for a long time.

Probably some jerk-publisher fraudulently claimed "coypright" on its print of it, and it took google several years until they noticed that indeed, the publisher did NOT have a copyright, and indeed, they COULD post it in its entirety. Which is, by the way, why around 80% of all public domain books google has digitized are not available in its entirety.

I wrote about it a few years ago http://seegras.discordia.ch/Blog/stealing-from-the-public-domain/ [discordia.ch] The situation hasn't changed. Google Books is still the biggest repository of public domain books with fraudulently claimed copyright.

If you're doing historical research, it's absolutely maddening how most books from the 19th century and earlier "is not available if full" because of fraudulent copyright claims -- and google reacting very slowly.

Re:17th Century? (2)

Whiteox (919863) | about 2 years ago | (#41739859)

But although Google should be congratulated, it is a poor scan. Whoever did this didn't bother unfolding the leaf of the pictures which were obviously folded to preserve the book format. Some pages were not aligned properly also.
This is typical of the care that I've found with google and their incredibly poor paywall selections.

Re:17th Century? (4, Informative)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | about 2 years ago | (#41741389)

Google's version is in images of the pages, most of the illustrations (which are the whole point of the book) are fold outs and are not folded out in Google's copy, the ones that are visible are smudgy poor quality versions of the originals...

Project Gutenburg has a much better copy - HTML,epub,kindle etc ... transcribed text and detailed images

"http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15491/15491-h/15491-h.htm"

Why is the a story ....?

Re:17th Century? (1)

Ankh (19084) | about 2 years ago | (#41745101)

The images are better than average for project gutenberg. On my own site I generally scan at 2400dpi, http://www.fromoldbooks.org/ [fromoldbooks.org] - although people have to ask me for the high resolution images. For one thing, a 2 gigabyte image can crash people's Web browsers :-)

Project Gutenberg has always been really sloppy with metadata - identifying exactly which edition of a work was transcribed (and which impression), describing its physical characteristics and so forth. They seem to be improving a little, slowly.

Google Books on the other hand has always been really bad with images and with the OCR. For some books I've had some luck making a "majority edition" by taking the text when Google scanned the same book multiple times. It turns out to be almost impossible to do that with images, unfortunately.

As I understand it, Google's method of scanning books also means fold-out or large-size illustrations tend to get lost altogether.

Just saying... (3, Informative)

J.J. Dane (1562629) | about 2 years ago | (#41738425)

Surely that's been on Project Gutenberg for years and years?

Re:Just saying... (2, Informative)

vurian (645456) | about 2 years ago | (#41738461)

If it was on gutenberg, it would have been a transcription. This is a full scan of the original pages, including illustrations. It's looking pretty good.

Re:Just saying... (4, Interesting)

docmordin (2654319) | about 2 years ago | (#41738529)

[...] This is a full scan of the original pages, including illustrations. It's looking pretty good.

Some of the pages are garbled, or, at the very least, a tad difficult to parse, due to the ensuing or previous page(s) bleeding through to the others during the scanning process. (Granted, this phenomena gave me an excellent idea for an IEEE CVPR/TPAMI paper about a variational, non-local image inpainting scheme for fixing such things in scanned, double-sided documents.)

Re:Just saying... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41739549)

I was thinking the exact same thing.

We need to get out more.

Re:Just saying... (3, Informative)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#41739599)

You would think with all the cash, tech, skill and as a pure PR stunt...
Place some black card behind the pages and get on scan per page, not a semi transparent mess.

More info here than in PG (5, Funny)

srussia (884021) | about 2 years ago | (#41738671)

If it was on gutenberg, it would have been a transcription. This is a full scan of the original pages, including illustrations. It's looking pretty good.

For example, now we know Robert Hooke fpoke with a weird lifp, a fact that was not apparent in the PG tranfcription!

Re:More info here than in PG (1)

dwywit (1109409) | about 2 years ago | (#41739127)

I wish I had mod points - well done.

Re:More info here than in PG (-1, Troll)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#41740475)

Go look at the actual scan. For some reason, they are actually using an 'f' in place of an 's' and it is maddening.

Re:More info here than in PG (2)

Fallingcow (213461) | about 2 years ago | (#41740877)

Jesus Christ, another one?

Long S [wikipedia.org]

Re:More info here than in PG (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41742653)

It’s the same user. Probably trolling.

Re:More info here than in PG (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741065)

you're an affhat...

Re:Just saying... (5, Informative)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | about 2 years ago | (#41739181)

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15491/15491-h/15491-h.htm [gutenberg.org]

The Gutenberg book has MUCH clearer text (as in, it's actually readable and there's no bleedthrough from the page under it). It's also properly formatted and actual text, not just blurry images of text.

It also has MUCH better illustrations. Not only are they hand-scanned and cropped to a high quality, they're individual images so you can actually open them in another tab and cross-reference them with the text.

The Google Books scan is absolutely worthless in comparison except as a lesson in how not to scan books if you want them to be useful.

Re:Just saying... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41739307)

That's far more readable, yes.

Loved this part, it really puts the work into context:

A Second thing (which was hinted to me, by the consideration of the included fluids globular form, caused by the protrusion of the ambient heterogeneous fluid) was, whether the Phænomena of gravity might not by this means be explained, by supposing the Globe of Earth, Water, and Air to be included with a fluid, heterogeneous to all and each of them, so subtil, as not only to be every where interspersed through the Air, (or rather the air through it) but to pervade the bodies of Glass, and even the closest Metals, by which means it may endeavour to detrude all earthly bodies as far from it as it can; and partly thereby, and partly by other of its properties may move them towards the Center of the Earth. Now that there is some such fluid, I could produce many Experiments and Reasons, that do seem to prove it: But because it would ask some time and room to set them down and explain them, and to consider and answer all the Objections (many whereof I foresee) that may be alledged against it; I shall at present proceed to other Queries, contenting my self to have here only given a hint of what I may say more elswhere.

People were fumbling around without a lot of the knowledge that we take for granted today, which make their advancements all the more impressive, IMO.

Re:Just saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41739503)

You are absolutely correct. Your Gutenberg link is a useable text, whereas the Google Books link is more art than practical.

Re:Just saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41739743)

The Gutenberg version is in html, which might sound nice until you realize that you can't bookmark the page. As if you're going to read this on one sitting or something. To have any real value it needs to be epub, so it can be read using ereader software.

Re:Just saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41739901)

Versions other than HTML are available
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/15491

Re:Just saying... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41739903)

Well, there's an epub version too. Why do people have to always make these things so difficult?

Here's [gutenberg.org] the real Project Gutenberg link.

Re:Just saying... (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | about 2 years ago | (#41739953)

If your ereader can't read HTML it sucks and you need a new one. EPUB is just a bastardised standard based on HTML, CSS and other open standards wrapped up in a non-exactly, but basically ZIP file. Basically, any web browser can easily be converted to read epub it's that similar to real HTML etc.

OK, slightly over simplified (EPUB also contains an index file, and the content could be Daisy XML instead of XHTML, and some other things) But basically EPUB is pointless 'cause HTML can do everything and more that EPUB can do. The areas where (X)HTML has problems, could be fixed by participating in the HTML 5 process.

Re:Just saying... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#41743393)

(1) Use Firefox.

(2) Install the Scrapbook+ plugin.

(3) Visit the page on Project Gutenberg.

(4) Tell Scrapbook+ to stop at one level of recursion, and save the page.

You now have the original, complete with images (images saved in a local folder and the links adjusted to point to them).

Click on index.html, and there it is. No messing with epub.

Re:Just saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41744455)

Doesn't address GP's concerns at all. Fortunately, there's an epub too.

Re:Just saying... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#41743343)

Having just compared the two, I concur.

If this is the quality we can expect from the Google book scans, they may as well not bother.

The Project Gutenberg version is vastly superior.

Re:Just saying... (4, Interesting)

Rogue Haggis Landing (1230830) | about 2 years ago | (#41739791)

It's been available for years in other places; my partner wrote her dissertation on 17th century science, and used scans of Hooke from a couple of online sources. The National Library of Medicine has a beautiful flash version of it [nih.gov] . There is a decent version at the University of Wisconsin [wisc.edu] . It's at archive.org [archive.org] in a nice scan. The PG edition is very good, an original spelling transcription with scans of the original plates. IIRC there's also a scanned edition in the (pay access) database Early English Books Online. So this is not news at all.

But it's always a good time to look at Hooke. His illustrations really are astonishingly beautiful, and weren't bested for a century or more, and the text conveys something of the wonder to be the first person to *ever* see these things. It's pretty astonishing to imagine what that might have felt like. Hooke not only first saw cells, he coined the word in its biological sense, because he thought the cells in cork bark looked like the cells that monks live in. Hooke was a polymath, a successful mathematician, an architect and inventor, and by all accounts a very good musician. He was also apparently a bit unpleasant and a little crazed, but genius is allowed these things (at least when it's no longer around to annoy you)

Re:Just saying... (1)

ConaxConax (1886430) | about 2 years ago | (#41740049)

That's amazing, thanks for sharing!

Re:Just saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41738479)

Maybe yes, but as fugly, plain text. Me I want the images all together as one PDF.

Re:Just saying... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41738517)

not Gutenberg, but, yes, it was: http://lhldigital.lindahall.org/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/nat_hist&CISOPTR=384&REC=1

Pix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41738477)

pix or it didnt happen!

Re:Pix (4, Funny)

drkim (1559875) | about 2 years ago | (#41738703)

pix or it didnt happen!

Steel-plate, micrographic engravings or it didn't happen!

FTFY

Copyright is just too long in this country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41738489)

Wow! I knew copyright lasted a long time in the US, but 347 years to enter the public domain just seems like too long!

Re:Copyright is just too long in this country (3, Funny)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 2 years ago | (#41738539)

How do you expect an author to provide for his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grand children? You selfish bastard!

Re:Copyright is just too long in this country (2)

drkim (1559875) | about 2 years ago | (#41738669)

How do you expect an author to provide for his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grand children? You selfish bastard!

Unfortunately for the Hooke estate, the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great offspring of the original microbes are demanding 347 years of royalties for the use of their ancestors likeness.

Re:Copyright is just too long in this country (1)

o'reor (581921) | about 2 years ago | (#41738705)

blockquote>Unfortunately for the Hooke estate, the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great offspring of the original microbes are demanding 347 years of royalties for the use of their ancestors likeness.

Which, divided by quite a few thousand trillion siblings, amounts to... not much.

Re:Copyright is just too long in this country (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41739017)

blockquote>Unfortunately for the Hooke estate, the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great offspring of the original microbes are demanding 347 years of royalties for the use of their ancestors likeness.

Which, divided by quite a few thousand trillion siblings, amounts to... not much.

That's okay. Microbes don't need much.

They've only got small pockets.

Re:Copyright is just too long in this country (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41739345)

Only the lawyers get any money, it's the principle of the thing that counts.

Can you imagine what would happen if they didn't sue...? All out nuclear war would seem mild in comparison.

To the usual crap Google digitization standards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41738531)

Looks like it

Re:To the usual crap Google digitization standards (2)

kevink707 (1331815) | about 2 years ago | (#41740431)

It looks like some of the pages unfold to show larger drawings, unfortunately there weren't unfolded. :-(

English link (2)

ryzvonusef (1151717) | about 2 years ago | (#41738637)

The link in parent post from Google Dutch.

http://books.google.com.pk/books?id=SgFMAAAAcAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Micrographia&source=bl&ots=RHRy548O-h&sig=7rlnMA8KsyCj7h7-TfHBuxDoAd4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=wk6GUM23C6iu0QW4_YCQBA&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false [google.com.pk]

Also, ugh, back scan all over! Can't read the bloody thing due to the back page image being scanned in. (courtesy of a flatbed, back-lit scanner?)

I think it should have been scanned with one of those front book scanner (like the ones they make here[1]) I dare presume that would have eliminated the problem?

[1]: http://www.diybookscanner.org/ [diybookscanner.org]

Re:English link (1)

ryzvonusef (1151717) | about 2 years ago | (#41738649)

Also, God damn Long S [wikipedia.org]

It's called print-through! (3, Interesting)

robbak (775424) | about 2 years ago | (#41739053)

What you are calling back-scan is print-through, partially related to the book being 350 years old, and the ink bleeding through the paper over the centuries.
You can be sure that they have done everything they could to reduce it, but that is what the pages look like now.

What annoys me, however, is that they have not opened up and scanned all the folded-over plates. The signature image, that of the flea, is only visible in the shadow of that print-through!
Unless I am missing something in the google books interface!

Re:English link (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41739671)

You really are stupid. Do some research before opening your mouth and making yourself into a fucking tard.

Small correction... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41738677)

Looking under a microscope at the thousands of facets on an insect's compound eye, they saw things at the nanoscale that Aristotle could not have dreamed of.

I know it's fun to put edgy and trendy words in phrases at random, but the scale at which you observe things under a standard optical microscope is (unsurprisingly) the microscale, not the nanoscale. "Nanoscale" is not a generic word for small... it actually refers to a specific range of sizes (different from the ranges of sizes addressed by terms such as "microscale" and "femtoscale").

Words... we have them. Learn how to use them.

Re:Small correction... (0)

CRCulver (715279) | about 2 years ago | (#41738771)

"Nanoscale" is not a generic word for small... it actually refers to a specific range of sizes (different from the ranges of sizes addressed by terms such as "microscale" and "femtoscale"). Words... we have them. Learn how to use them.

Just as e.g. the ancient Greeks had no problem with the use of the word myrios to mean either "exactly 10,000" or "an inexact huge amount", it's not the end of the world if English speakers today use nanoscale for "exactly a scale of 1-100 nanometers" among specialists and "an inexact really small measurement" in general parlance.

Words... we have them. Outside of small scientific communities that agree to fix their terminology, their meaning shifts over time in a natural and unstoppable process.

Re:Small correction... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41739285)

Uhm... sure... you want to be hyperbolic or use words incorrectly, that's perfectly cromulent. But if you're going to write a story and use incorrect words for no good reason other than to make it seems more edgy or something, don't be surprised if people think you're dumb.

"Looking under a microscope at the thousands of facets on an insect's compound eye, they saw things at the nanoscale that Aristotle could not have dreamed of." could just as easily be written "Looking under a microscope at the thousands of facets on an insect's compound eye, they saw things at a scale that Aristotle could not have dreamed of."

I maintain what I said: the whole "nano" thing just demonstrates the author probably knows little about what he's talking about, so he decides to add meaningless fluff. I guess the whole "nano" thing is trendy, uh? with all that "nanotech" talk and "nanotubes" and whatnot...

The fact that some people can't/don't know how to use words shouldn't justify everyone using words incorrectly. Should we start accepting "nucular" as a correct rendition of "nuclear", just because "some people" don't know any better? Maybe we should also make "they're" and "their" equivalent, since most people don't know the difference anyway, right? Language is fluid and dynamic and evolving, right?

To me, the whole statement sounds as insightful as saying that a telescope allows you to look at things "many kilometers away". In fact, even this silly statement is more true (because it's still technically true) than what the poster stated, since you can't see nanoscale-sized objects with a regular optical microscope.

TL;DR: If this was in a Playboy magazine or whatever, I wouldn't really care; but this is Slashdot... technical details are important. Also, the author is free to use stupid, incorrect terms the same way I'm free to criticize his use of stupid, incorrect terms.

Re:Small correction... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41738961)

Nerds love to misuse words since it lets them ignore reality. I'm surprised subby didn't toss in "3D printed private space kickstarter".

Re:Small correction... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41745075)

Words... we have them. Learn how to use them.

640 wordz is enuff 4 NE1, yo...

Frost piss! Pretty bizarre experiments in the book (2)

o'reor (581921) | about 2 years ago | (#41738683)

The "Frost piss" title has never been so appropriate here: you will certainly like the chapter "Several Observable in the fix branched Figures form'd on the surface of Urine by freezing", page 88 (Google Books index) [google.nl] . Hey, that frozen urine crystal looks marvelous !

My two cents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41738765)

Why dot-nl instead of dot-com for the link?

And is Google planning on using OCR to truly digitize it so it's easier to read?

Did Google/etc edited the text in any form? (1)

ikaruga (2725453) | about 2 years ago | (#41738779)

I just finished reading the preface and that was probably one of the most pleasant and understandable English manuscript I've read the entire week(or month). I usually don't read "ancient" unedited texts, but in my very limited experience the older the text the harder to read. Texts from 19th century or earlier can be quite frustrating. Other than the use of the integral symbol as the 's' character, it was a smooth read and it felt like the text was written very recently. I'm not even a native English speaker. It makes me wonder, did someone "translated" it into modern English?

Lisp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41738839)

It waf apparently typefet by fomeone with a lifp.

Re:Lisp (2)

ryzvonusef (1151717) | about 2 years ago | (#41738893)

Re:Lisp (4, Funny)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | about 2 years ago | (#41739253)

Whoofh

Re:Lisp (1)

ryzvonusef (1151717) | about 2 years ago | (#41740257)

YES, THIS IS DOG...

(Nah, just being pedantic :D)

Great (1, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#41738919)

Great.

Now if someone could actually do a half-decent job of removing the other-side of the page that leaks through on EVERY page, it might be readable without giving me a headache.

Seriously, would it be that hard to do some kind of light-trick or image-editing afterwards (especially as you have an image of the reverse page which could be tweaked and pulled to provide a lined-up mask to dial down those parts of the page), or hell even just a bit of contrast adjustment etc. so that the presumably very thin paper doesn't leak everything through?

It's the ink soaking through the paper. (1)

robbak (775424) | about 2 years ago | (#41739063)

Apart from hand-editing every page, or or just normalizing the life out of them, there is no way. If you had the paper before you, it would look like that. No amount of lighting will remove what is on the page.
And you can't simply subtract the back of the page from the front. The amount of soak-through is dependant on the fibres of the paper!

Re:It's the ink soaking through the paper. (1)

nzac (1822298) | about 2 years ago | (#41739455)

I am guessing the GP does not want a exact reproduction of the current book just the bleed-though and transfer from the adjacent page removed.

The desired black text is clearly darker than undesired text so just save it in a layer with transparency and some reasonable feathering. Then change all the dark/black pixels to the average brown for the area the text was in and blur the area. Finally overlay the desired text back onto the page.

Re:It's the ink soaking through the paper. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41739561)

The amount of soak-through is dependant on the fibres of the paper!

Oh well we'll need one of those image processing algorithms that isn't perfect but which has an error bar below perception then. Like, er, all of them.

Re:It's the ink soaking through the paper. (1)

Ankh (19084) | about 2 years ago | (#41745225)

It's harder than it sounds.

I do a lot of scanning from old books. The print-through can often be darker than parts of the printed page you're trying to scan; I have not found a good way to cure that beyond hand-editing.

In many case, of course, you can make huge improvements in a very short time. But Google Books is about commoditisation, it's about really large quantities of mediocre results, getting ad revenues from the keywords to pay for the work.

Book recomendation (1)

laron (102608) | about 2 years ago | (#41738925)

If you want to immerse yourself in the world of Hooke, Pepys, Newton et al., you should read "The Baroque Cycle".

Re:Book recomendation (1)

rpetre (818018) | about 2 years ago | (#41739217)

I am reading the Baroque Cycle these days, it made me extremely giddy to recognize the context of the book :)

Hooke the pretender (1)

Darth Cider (320236) | about 2 years ago | (#41738941)

Biographies of Isaac Newton do not show Robert Hooke in a good light. He was a pretender to genius and laid claim to ideas that Newton developed in full, whereas Hooke had the most rudimentary sense of them. He was in science what we'd call a patent troll in the field of business. Just because he has a name one might have heard before is no reason to accord to him the profound dignity of scholarship this article purports to bestow. He looked through a microscope. Wow! Newton invented the theory of optics. (And many other things that Hooke very presumptuously claimed to be his own discoveries.)

Re:Hooke the pretender (2)

wisty (1335733) | about 2 years ago | (#41739001)

Isaac Newton hates Hooke's guts, and the feeling was mutual. Hooke was actually pretty good, but not as good as Newton at math (who was?). Actually, Newton hated *everyone's* guts, and everyone hated him back (though most respected his genius).

Fun fact - when Newton said "I was standing on the shoulders of giants", he was pointing out that his work was based on Des-Cartes wave theory, not Hooke's particle theory (though both were later found to be true - the particles were waves). This was doubly insulting, because Hooke was not a tall man.

Not everyone loved Hooke either, because he spent far too much time drinking and whoring, but he would have been a fun guy to meet (unlike Newton).

Re:Hooke the pretender (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41739505)

Is this the contempt of science towards engineering?

Re:Hooke the pretender (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41740033)

Newton invented the theory of optics.

I'm fairly certain Galileo was using telescopes decades before Newton was born, and he was only improving a Dutch invention.

Re:Hooke the pretender (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41740659)

I'm fairly certain Galileo was using telescopes decades before Newton was born, and he was only improving a Dutch invention.

Umm.. Roger Bacon wrote a large section on 'Perspectiva' (theoretical optics) in his Opus Maius. And that was 11th century....

Re:Hooke the pretender (3, Insightful)

pehrs (690959) | about 2 years ago | (#41740315)

Isaac Newton was a very good scientist, and an even better politician. Actually, "ruthless" would probably be the best term to describe the man. He spent years discrediting anybody who had crossed him, frequently postmortem. You see, Isaac lived for a long time, and took the liberty to spend the last few years of his life smearing people like Hooke and Halley.

There is a reason he was chosen to head the royal mint, where he ensured that some 30 coiners ended up hung, drawn and quartered in less than a year.

Re:Hooke the pretender (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | about 2 years ago | (#41741497)

The UK £2 coin has "Standing on the shoulders of Giants" around the edge... to doubly commemorate Isaac Newton

He was master of the royal mint and famously quoted this, and he invented Milled Edge coins to stop people clipping coins (when they has intrinsic worth)

Re:Hooke the pretender (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41740501)

Hooke pissed a lot of people off. It doesn't make Newton better. Hooke was one of the greatest polymaths in history. And to top it all, he was a self-made man at a time when one had to be of a certain station to even be allowed membership into the Royal Society. Have a read about Hooke's accomplishments and maybe you will come around. Unless you want to take Newton's bitchiness as fact.

Hooke was a commoner. Hooke only was allowed into Royal Society meetings by becoming the curator of experiments. He built the machines for Boyle and others. Basically all the great discoveries of the age involved Hooke, because he actually had to do the work, like actually make a vacuum pump good enough for Boyle. And yet he found time to do stuff for himself. He was the Royal Surveyor after the fire of London. He was the structural engineer for Wren at St. Paul's and at other places. He designed his own buildings. (Like the Observatory in Greenwich) Even in St. Paul's and the Fire Memorial, he and Wren built in science experiments. He was an utterly brilliant man.

I question if Newton did more to make the microscope better than Hooke by discovering optics. Grinding lenses by hand was always going to be the limiting factor. Only with precision manufacturing can the theory be fully realized. Hooke invented the microscope light that did more to improve observation than some maths.

Even Newton admits in the Principia that Hooke had figured out the inverse square law. (Although derides him for not proving it with the math and only as an observation)

Newton was theoretical. Hooke was an empiricist. If you are going to blindly continue Newton's propaganda war, at least put it in that context. Hooke didn't care if the math worked out well. He still had to see it to believe it. Newton trusted the math.

(By the way, I would say Newton is more important too, but that's because of the one book -- which in a post-apocolyptic world would probably be the book I would choose to survive if I had to pick one. In second place of the Restoration natural philosophers, I put an equal tie between Hooke, Boyle, and Wren -- pretty good company)

To the King my ass (1)

twdorris (29395) | about 2 years ago | (#41739067)

Wow. That whole "to the king" section was at least as interesting to me as the rest of the book...

Re:To the King my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41740467)

You want your grant - you treat the grant committee with respect!

It was ever thus......

Chethams library. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41739087)

When I was a student in Manchester, UK I took an optional "history of science & technology" module. This included a trip to Chethams Library [wikipedia.org] , where I was lucky enough to handle a first edition Micrographia and a first edition of something called Principia Mathematica by a bloke called Newton.

It's great to see it on line, but the physical artifacts really are something special. To this ex physicist anyway.

Robert Hooke (1, Insightful)

Viceice (462967) | about 2 years ago | (#41739089)

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).

I wonder what he might have thought if he could see a modern microprocessor under the microscope.

What is this black square? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41739149)

And these strange words that say 'You do not have license to view this work, upon penalty of death.'

"Now Freely Readable" (1)

Legion303 (97901) | about 2 years ago | (#41739567)

Good thing it wasn't in film form, or it wouldn't be freely watchable for about infinity years.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41739663)

Well at least the quality isn't as shockingly bad as Google Books are usually. And they event remembered to scan the images, not get the pages folded in the scanner, not scan a hand, not blur the page AND not have the images compressed into nothing, or omitted entirely. This is a rare find indeed.

GRR Copyright bastards (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41739721)

Damm New Zealand copyright

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We're working to bring the content you love to more countries as quickly as possible.
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Leeuwenhoek and Sorby (3, Informative)

phrackwulf (589741) | about 2 years ago | (#41739993)

Hooke gets credit for popularizing the technology but the optical science of Van Leeuwenhoek has always been where the real scientific innovation was. H. Clifton Sorby, the "Father of all metallurgists" refined the use of the optical microscope for geological materials and then metals and began the process of specialized etchants, which directly gave us the ability to refine and understand the structure of steels in different quenchants and temperatures through direct study of the resulting microstructures. Sorby doesn't get anywhere near the credit he deserves nowadays and ever time I run into a poorly trained metallurgist I am reminded of the exacting science of men like E.C. Baine, M.A. Grossman and H. Clifton Sorby. Though the Hooke college of microscopy in Chicago should never be overlooked.

What is a "proto-bodice"? (1)

Beorytis (1014777) | about 2 years ago | (#41741047)

... And what happens when you rip one?

It was still "newsworthy" 40-odd years later (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741589)

Jonathan Swift (1667–1745):

So, naturalists observe, a flea
Has smaller fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller still to bite ’em;
And so proceed ad infinitum.

More old books (1)

braindrainbahrain (874202) | about 2 years ago | (#41741675)

Very kewl! I love this old stuff. Some more old books to enjoy:

The Harmonia Macrocosmica [rarebookroom.org]

The Voynich Manuscript/a. aka, the most mysterious book in the world. [archive.org]

  If this keeps up... why any old commoner could read about almost anything!

Re:More old books (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41742881)

http://posner.library.cmu.edu/

Google Books Google schbooks (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 2 years ago | (#41742819)

Pages 111-113 are not part of this book preview.

backside print through is avoidable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41743409)

They should have scanned with a black sheet backside to reduce the view of print on the opposite page side.

Nice! (1)

32771 (906153) | about 2 years ago | (#41745553)

Not only did Google provide us with the aforementioned book about microscopes, they also made the young mans book of amusements public to the adventurous reader.

http://books.google.de/books?id=X2FLAAAAYAAJ [google.de]

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