Robert Hooke’s famous drawing of the flea included in his publication ‘Micrographia’. (Image is taken from

Robert Hooke’s famous drawing of the flea included in his publication ‘Micrographia’. (Image is taken from

Exeter researchers to host 'Micrographia Day': a celebration of microscopy

Researchers from the Departments of Biosciences and English at the University of Exeter, supported by the Royal Society of Biology, are organising ‘Micrographia Day’: a celebration of the 350th anniversary since publication of the first fully illustrated book of microscopy by Robert Hooke.

The event will take place on Saturday 24th October at Exeter Cathedral as part of the nationwide ‘The Big Draw’ event and will exhibit the revolutionary advances in our understanding of the natural world.

The publication of Robert Hooke’s book ‘Micrographia’ in 1665 presented a major advancement in the appreciation of the biological world, from the first cell to the intricate details of tiny insects and plants. This fully illustrated guide to microscopy included extensive imagery of many aspects of the natural world, authored by the multi-skilled Robert Hooke, not only an influential biologist but also a physicist and architect.

‘Micrographia Day’ will exhibit the great work of Robert Hooke by providing a day of microscopy and drawing for all ages, offering a hands-on opportunity to view specimens under modern microscopes and learn about the progression of microscopy through time. The event will be run by staff and students from University of Exeter and members of the Royal Society of Biology, including interactive demonstrations with Dr. Mark Ramsdale and Dr. Katie Solomon from Biosciences and Dr. Felicity Henderson from English, a world expert on Robert Hooke.  Professor Gero Steinberg will give a short talk on  ‘Microscopy in the 21st Century’ at 12 noon in the Chapter House. There will also be an excellent visual showcase of research posters produced by undergraduates from Biosciences. Importantly, attendees will have the opportunity to view an original copy of the newly conserved ‘Micrographia’ held by the Cathedral Library.

Dr. Mark Ramsdale commented that the event will be “a great opportunity to see first hand an important piece of work that has provided the foundation for a lot of our modern understanding of the biological and physical world”.

The event will be held from 10am-4pm on Saturday 24th October in the Chapter House, Exeter Cathedral and is free to attend and open to all. It will be a great opportunity to hear about and visualise the power of microscopy and to participate in ‘The Big Draw’, the annual nationwide celebration of drawing.

Read more about the event on the Exeter Cathedral website.

The original ‘Micrographia’ publication can be found as an online PDF.

Article written by Sarah Duxbury, Biosciences Press Gang.

Date: 21 October 2015

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