Hooke manuscript is returned to Royal Society

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The long-lost manuscript belonging to pioneering scientist Robert Hooke has returned to the Royal Society. The hand-written notes are thought to contain a "treasure trove" of information about the early endeavours of the UK's academy of science.

A digitised version of the notes will eventually be available on the web.

The document, which had lain hidden in a house in Hampshire, was rescued from a public auction after a fundraising effort pulled in the £940,000 needed.

The "white knights" have been revealed as the Wellcome Trust, which gave £469,000, and 150 donors who came forward after the Royal Society appealed to its fellows and the general public.

The manuscript will now be rebound, transcribed and carefully analysed; and infrared scanning will be used to reveal some notes that have become illegible over time.

Robert Hooke, who died in 1703, was a polymath whose many contributions included coining the term "cell", devising a law of elasticity, creating spring regulators for time pieces; and designing several major buildings, such as the Monument to the Fire of London.

In 1662, Hooke became curator of experiments at the Royal Society, and he was later elected a fellow in 1664.

They are scattered with sketches and marginal observations, which the society hope will give insight into the man whose work crossed so many fields.

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