But a constellation of related articles covering every detail of
Hooke's life won't happen all at once -- we'll have to wait for the
facts to accumulate before they can be organized comprehesibly.
Removing what you consider trivia because it doesn't fit perfectly
with the rest of the article short-circuits this process.
On 2/26/06, Andrew Gray <shimgray(a)gmail.com> wrote:
On 26/02/06, Peter Mackay
get me wrong - I think Hooke's *research* is a titanic
achievement, he was probably the greatest experimenter of his
age, and that was probably the golden age of the
experimenter. But much of the verifiable detail is things
like "Mr Hooke was asked about the progress of the lenses,
and stated that they required further polishing but would be
ready soon" or words to that effect.
Detail that might be, but it is not what most people would call trivia in
the accepted sense. If the material he used to grind the lenses was the fine
ash produced by burning pieces of the True Cross, then that would be trivia.
The thing is, if we have seven hundred pieces like that it's "an
article in immense detail". If what we have is simply one line,
"* On [[14 January]] [], Hooke recieved a letter from Humphrey
Grafton of Cambridgeshire, enquiring after the 7s. 4d which he had
sent for a copy of Hooke's treatise on optics"
added because someone's great-to-the-n-grandfather was an
astonishingly uninteresting gentleman of Ely who occasionally wrote to
scientists, well, then it's trivia. If the writer was Newton or Pepys
and Hooke wrote a blistering reply, it might even be vaguely
A lot of these trivia entries would be perfectly fitted into a
comprehensive biography of the subject, or a book-length study... but
they don't neccessarily belong in an article which should, at most, be
a few thousand words.
- Andrew Gray
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