Maria Zack
Department of Mathematical, Information and Computer Sciences
Point Loma Nazarene University
3900 Lomaland Drive
San Diego, CA 92106 USA

N2008-ZackRobert Hooke's Fire Monument (photo by Maria Zack)

After the Great London Fire of 1666, Robert Hooke was appointed along with Christopher Wren to lead the massive effort to rebuild the City of London. Hooke was involved extensively in all aspects of the rebuilding of London, both the mundane (widening streets and establishing property boundaries) and the creative (designing churches and civic buildings). Although very little of Hooke's architectural work has survived the passage of time, the Monument to the Great Fire is a shining example of his creativity. As a monument, it is fairly conventional - a column resting on a prism -, but as a scientific instrument it is ingenious. At the time of the monument's design, Hooke was conducting experiments on both the motion of the earth and the measurement of gravity. To further this research, the monument was constructed to contain a zenith telescope as well as a gravitational "lab." This paper will discuss how the scientific uses of the Monument were integrated into its design.

About the author
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. received her BA (1984) and Ph.D. (1989) in Mathematics from the University of California at San Diego. She has held posts at Texas Tech University, The Center for Communications Research and Point Loma Nazarene University, where she is currently a Professor as well as the Chair of the Department of Mathematical, Information and Computer Sciences. Her research interests include the history of mathematics in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England.

The correct citation for this paper is:
Maria Zack, "Robert Hooke's Fire Monument:Architecture as a Scientific Instrument", pp. 117-126 in Nexus VII: Architecture and Mathematics, ed. Kim Williams, Turin: Kim Williams Books, 2008.