Brandy, Ants, and Microscope: Experimental Science of Robert Hooke

Monika Bečvářová



The aim of the study is to discuss the early microscopic examination of nature, introduced by Robert Hooke (1635-1703) in his work Micrographia (1665). Considering the complexity of his work, the paper focuses on passages concerning Hooke's research of insects. The object of analysis is above all Hooke's methodology of research: the way in which the experimenter used the microscope to study ants, flies, mosquitoes and other insects. Attention is also paid to the way in which Hooke presented the results of his observation, i.e. to his descriptions and illustrations of insects. Finally, the study also tries to interpret selected records of microscopic observations in Micrographia and clarify their relation to philosophical and religious interpretations of nature in seventeenth century.


Robert Hooke; raná mikroskopie, mikrografie; hmyz; experimentální věda 17. století; mechanistická filosofie.

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TEORIE VĚDY / THEORY OF SCIENCE – journal for interdisciplinary studies of science is published twice a year by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies). ISSN 1210-0250 (Print) ISSN 1804-6347 (Online) MK ČR E 18677 web: /// email: