Robert Hooke’s death in 1703 and Isaac Newton’s assumption of the Presidency of the Royal Society have often been seen as marking a key shift in scientific practice—a rigorous mathematicization of the physical world and a turn away from the free-flowing experimentalism of the Royal Society’s early years. Once an experimentalist prodigy and favourite of Charles II, Christopher Wren was equally targeted in the first decades of the eighteenth century by critics of his aesthetics and his politics. This conclusion gestures to where and how the fragile project crafted by Hooke, Wren, and their Restoration-era experimentalist colleagues was effectively divided, defeated and defaced in the first quarter of the eighteenth century.
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