The Longest Now


A patent alternative: aaaaaagmmnrr

Hooke liked to note discoveries he had made before he had found time to exlpain and prove his discoveries.  He used the simple mechanich of anagramming an entire phrase:

The true Mathematical and Mechanichal form of all manner of ARches for Building, with the true butment necessary to each of them. A Problem which no Architectonick Writer hath ever yet attempted, much less performed. abcccddeeeeefggiiiiiiiillmmmmnnnnnooprrsssttttttuuuuuuuux

This code, not decrypted during Hooke’s life, was revealed on his death to anagram to: Ut pendet continuum flexile, sic stabit contiguum rigidum inversum — “As hangs a flexible cable, so inverted, stand the touching pieces of an arch”.  The modest original context follows;From an appendix to Hooke’s”Description of Helioscopes”, as published in Lectiones Cutlerianæ:

To fill the vacancy of the ensuing page, I have here added a decimat of the centesme of the Inventions I intend to publish, though possibly not in the same order, but as I can get opportunity and leasure; most of which, I hope, will be as useful to Mankind, as they are yet unknown and new.

1. A way of Regulating all sorts of Watches or Timekeepers, so as to make any way to equalize, if not exceed the Pendulum-Clocks now used.
2.The true Mathematical and Mechanichal form of all manner of ARches for Building, with the true butment necessary to each of them. A Problem which no Architectonick Writer hath ever yet attempted, much less performed. abcccddeeeeefggiiiiiiiillmmmmnnnnnooprrsssttttttuuuuuuuux
3. The true Theory of Elasticity or Springiness, and a particular Explication thereof in several Subjects in which it is to be found: and the way of computing the velocity of Bodies moved by them. ceiiinosssttuu.

The third anagrams to a mnemonic for Hooke’s Law: ut vis, sic tensio.


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