Today we celebrate the birthday of English scientist and architect Robert Hooke, born 18 July 1635.
Hooke discovered the law of elasticity known as Hooke’s Law, and invented the balance spring for clocks. He was a virtuoso scientist whose scope of research ranged widely and included physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, geology, architecture and naval technology. On 5 November 1662 Hooke was appointed the Curator of Experiments at the Royal Society, London. After the Great Fire of London (1666), he served as Chief Surveyor and helped rebuild the city. He also invented or improved meteorological instruments such as the barometer, anemometer, and hygrometer. Hooke authored the influential Micrographia (1665), the first book to include illustrations of insects and plants as seen through microscopes.
Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (18 July 1853 – 4 February 1928) was a Dutch physicist who shared the 1902 Nobel Prize in Physics with Pieter Zeeman for the discovery and theoretical explanation of the Zeeman effect. He also derived the Lorentz transformation, underpinning Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity, as well as the Lorentz force, which describes the combined electric and magnetic forces acting on a charged particle in an electromagnetic field.
Henri Farman, who died on 18 July, 1958 at age 84 was a French aviator and aircraft designer who developed ailerons (1908) to solve the enormously difficult and dangerous problems of lateral control. His innovation subsequently came into general use on all planes.
Chuck Smeeton is Chief Operating Officer of the Royal Institution of Australia.
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