What Was the Contribution of Robert Hooke?

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Robert Hooke developed the law of elasticity, known as Hooke's Law, which states that stress is directly proportional to strain. He is also the originator of the word "cell" in biology.

Hooke was born in 1635 in England. He was the son of the minister of the Church of England. Due to poor health, the early years of his education were conducted at home by his father. He attended Oxford and later gained a position as Robert Boyle's assistant.

Hooke's most famous observations involved the study of thin slices of cork through a microscope. He described cork using the word "cells" because the tiny box-like structures reminded him of the cells of a monastery. He observed these same structures in other living specimens.

Hooke also observed the reaction of an elastic object when acted upon by a force. He noted that elastic objects can be compressed, stretched or bent, yet still return to their original state. The stretch elastic that materials experience is directly proportional to the load they support. Elastic objects will stretch until they reach their breaking point. Any object that does not return to its original shape is termed a plastic. These observations are known as Hooke's Law.