On this day in 1665, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary:
“Before I went to bed I sat up till two o’clock in my chamber reading of Mr Hooke’s Microscopicall Observations [Micrographia], the most ingenious book that ever I read in my life”.
Robert Hooke was elsewhere memorably described by Pepys as “the most, and promises the least, of any man in the world that I ever saw”. He was evidently a brilliant, but curmudgeonly, polymath: not only a pioneer microscopist, but also one of the founder members of the Royal Society in 1660, and an architect, who worked alongside Wren on the reconstruction of London following the Great Fire of 1666 (*).
(*) Readers interested in further details of the life and works of this extraordinary man are referred to the biography entitled “The Curious Life of Robert Hooke … “ by the late Lisa Jardine, originally published by HarperCollins in 2003.