Relations with Isaac Newton

1671 reflecting telescope

Newton sent in a paper to the Royal Society on his theory of light and colour in 1672 (or 1674?), which was 'peer-reviewed' by Hooke. Hooke claimed that what was correct in Newton's theory was stolen from his own ideas about light of 1665 and what was original was wrong. This marked the beginning of severe arguments between the two.

Standing on shoulders of giants (as seen on the 2 pound coin)

1675 Oldenburg

In 1672 Hooke attempted to prove that the Earth moves in an ellipse round the Sun and six years later proposed that inverse square law of gravitation to explain planetary motions. Hooke wrote to Newton in 1679 asking for his opinion:-

... of compounding the celestiall motions of the planetts of a direct motion by the tangent (inertial motion) and an attractive motion towards the centrall body ... my supposition is that the Attraction always is in a duplicate proportion to the Distance from the Center Reciprocall ...

Hooke, however, seemed unable to give a mathematical proof of his conjectures or perhaps unwilling to devote his time to this type of pursuit. However he claimed priority over the inverse square law and this led to a bitter dispute with Newton who, as a consequence, removed all references to Hooke from the Principia.

1672 First confrontation between Hooke and Newton. Newton had written a paper on his demonstration of white light being a composite of other colours. It was presented to the Royal Society but Newton was met with a strong rebuff by Hooke. 1684 Major confrontation between Hooke and Newton. It concerned Newton's Principia, and the involvement Hooke had in it. Newton claimed Hooke had none, but a closer look at the events prior to the Principia's publication, leave little doubt that Hooke was indeed involved. The Principia was published, without recognition to Hooke.