Age of Ingenuity

Age of Ingenuity

The theme of the talk is that science does not change the world but it is the world that changes the science. In her first lecture, Lisa Jardine, explains the evolution of science in Britain and classifies the whole history of modern science in 7 ages. The first era is identified as the “Age of Ingenuity” where endless efforts, optimism  and technical inventiveness of Robert Hooke during 1670- 1680 lead to the revival of nation after years of civil war.

Lisa starts the journey standing  at the top of monument which was not only a strategic  piece of art but a scientific instrument  ,where the flaming earn at the top revives the “Great fire of 1666”.It was the time when London streets were narrow and dirty and Charles II was restored to throne, but still it attracted Europeans to buy  mechanical instruments of any sort.

According to Lisa , The Ingenious, Mr Hooke  and his colleague Christopher Rained made deliberate efforts to rebuilt nation ,always working on several instruments and inventions. Simon (another speaker of the talk) identified Mr Robert Hooke as a soul identifier because he knew who to ask if he couldn’t do it himself. Hookes’ help to Thomas Tompian by adjusting springs in clocks made Thomas a millionaire and London, a Centre of precision watch making for almost a century.

Hooke explored the nature by exposing the miniature creations under microscopes which were very fascinating at that time. Hooke persuaded others to gain interest in exploring nature and science with his informative instruments and experiments e.g  Hookes law that explained the behavior  of spring ,Hooke’s joint ,air pump and etc. Compared to Robert Hooke ,Sir Isaac Newton gained much higher popularity as an iconic scientist although people of his time and even he himself didn’t expected it.His published Mathematics book in 1687 was much more famous than the Hookes’ Micrographia , which was a best seller of its time. Isaac Newton who previously was not a distinguishable student of Cambridge University gained his curiosity about continental mathematics halfway through his career. He also submitted some new designs for telescope to the Royal scientific society which use to favour dramtic experiments  which Hooke use to perform along with reading letters from all around the world
talking about endless curiosity.

There was a scientific rivalry between both. Hooke along with some other eminent scientist questioned Newton to explain what forces were responsible to keep earth revolving around the sun. Newton after
continuous efforts for a couple of days found the answer by merging natural philosophy with mathematical principles and explained the laws of mechanics of the whole universe and how things behave.

Jim Benedict  and Lisa Jardien believe that the mathematicians of that time did not involve themselves to explain why a coin drops down when thrown upwards but Newton’s himself answered it long time before when he was asked the same from Hooke. He answered that  it was just  a matter of observation and calculations. Furthermore Lisa objects that it was not possible for Newton to derive mathematical formulas to explain laws of universe, until and unless he had instruments to measure and observe. The inventions of Scientists like Robert Hooke geared Newton to do so.


According to me the narrator is explaining that it is the world that changes the science and it is not the science that changes the world. She is a big fan of Robert Hooke which she herself agreed and is regarding him as an ingenious person, whose endless efforts helped Britain revive as a nation after years of civil war. She is briefly introducing us to the old and efficient inventions of the age of ingenuity and is trying to compare the work of Robert Hooke and Isaac Newton, but is biased to Robert Hooke and under estimating the work of Isaac Newton.

Although the idea of introducing mathematical principles with natural philosophy was a bold move still many questioned are raised as to how Newton was able to derive such laws when other mathematicians of his time did not involve themselves in physics and science phenomenon. Newton was able to think about all this with the help of other scientific giants, who he had referred as old philosophers and theoreticians.

I personally believe that comparison between such great scientific figures is useless .It was there, Robert Hooke and Sir Isaac Newton, individual efforts that made them popular .Both of them worked hard to achieve success. Concerning her another point that it is actually world that changes the science is true. New developments, inventions and discoveries lead to new theories and explanations. As more precise instruments and accurate measurements are being performed nowadays we can further modify the scientific theories and expectedly in future these could be changed.



1 Comment
  1. Click Here 3 years ago

    Usually, I don’t leave a remark, but you’re writing is great.

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