Antique map of the Isle of Wight and the adjoining area of what are today the counties of Dorset, Hampshire and West Sussex, 1693.
The Isle of Wight is the largest English island and is located a few kilometres off the coast of Hampshire. Many notable people have spent their time on the island. These include Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who built their summer residence there and the actor Jeremy Irons who was born there. Another famous resident of the island is the scientist, surveyor and architect Robert Hooke (1635–1703). It is difficult to pick out the most important achievement of Mr. Hooke. He greatly contributed to many scientific disciplines such as palaeontology, horology, astronomy, microscopy and physics. Hooke’s law still has its solid place within mechanics. He was also a notable surveyor and architect. During his studies at Oxford, he became the life-long friend of Sir Christopher Wren and became his chief assistant after the Great Fire of London in 1666. Among other achievements, he participated in the design of some of London’s icons, such as the Royal Greenwich Observatory and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Without a doubt, he was a maverick and engaged in many disputes with other scientists, including a well-known dispute with Sir Isaac Newton, on their achievements in the field of gravitation. As a native of the Isle of Wight, he is one of the most important figures in the island’s history. The Robert Hooke Society has been established to raise awareness and appreciation of the life and achievements of this great scientist. Lisa Jardine’s “The Curious Life of Robert Hooke: The Man Who Measured London” provides a fascinating biography of this notable man.