Insects, micrographs,  1664.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 21cm x 32cm

Insects, micrographs, 1664.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Illustration from Robert Hooke's 'Micrographia'; the wandering mite (fig 1), a crab-like insect (fig 2) and the small silver coloured book worm (fig 3). Hooke describes the book worm as tapering 'towards the tail, smaller and smaller, being shap'd almost like a carrot.' Hooke (1635-1703) studied at Oxford University, where he met Robert Boyle and asisted him in the construction of an air pump for use in his experiments on the effects of reduced gas presures. In 1660 he moved to London and became one of the founder members of the Royal Society, holding the post of 'Curator of Experiments'. 'Micrographia', the first important work on microscopy, was published in 1664 and illustrates some of the specimens Hooke viewed under his compound microscope.

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