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Highlights from the Royal Society Collections

Hooke’s micrographia

This is the world’s first illustrated book of microscopic observations. Robert Hooke investigated many everyday objects through the microscope, including a feather, mould, a razor’s edge, finely woven cloth, and even a full stop printed in a book.

He was able to show readers a strange and wonderful world, where a fly’s eye had hundreds of facets and a flea had powerful legs and hooks for grasping clothes or flesh. Hooke used the word ‘cell’ for the first time to describe the tiny partitions he saw in a piece of cork, thinking they looked like the cells in a honeycomb.

Illustration of a flea

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