Micrographia

Dorothy Hodgkin’s work on penicillin

This Treasure is paired with: Dorothy Hodgkin’s work on penicillin (Under the microscope)

  • Robert Hooke
  • 1665
  • London
  • Printed book

The Micrographia is the first book in English to illustrate observations made under the microscope. Hooke had to ply the ant with brandy to keep it still long enough for him to draw. It obliged for an hour, then revived and ran away. Hooke’s preface expresses a modest hope for his work: ‘If I have contributed the meanest foundations whereon others may raise nobler superstructures, I am abundantly satisfied’. The impact of Micrographia was great: ‘the most ingenious book that ever I read in my life’, noted Samuel Pepys after reading it until 2am.

An introduction to Robert Hooke’s Micrographia by Dr William Poole, Official Tutorial Fellow, New College

This Treasure isn’t currently on display in the Weston Library.