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Robert Hooke's genius as a scientist was being noted in London and Oxford by the early 1660s. As he entered middle age in the mid-1670s he enjoyed a reputation as an astronomer, horologist, microscopist, physiologist and as an outstanding exponent of the `experimental method' that resonated throughout Europe. By the eighteenth century Hooke's memory was becoming obscured, and it was not until recent times that Hooke's genius was again recognised. Here Allan Chapman traces Hooke's life from his birth on the Isle of Wight, his early years at Westminster School and his time at Christ Church, Oxford, where he became one of the founding group of the Royal Society, to his death in 1703.