He was educated at Eton College and King's College, Cambridge, where he graduated M.A. in 1647. He became a fellow commoner at Wadham College, Oxford in 1650, having dropped out of academia for a period because of bad health. At Wadham he worked closely with John Wilkins and Seth Ward.
He was unpublished in his lifetime, but left papers on longitude and the moons of Jupiter that were published posthumously. He also wrote at the Royal Society's request a set of directions for sailors, on the correct way to record meteorological and oceanographic observations on their travels. These appeared in volume 1 of the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions as Directions for Sea-men, bound for far Voyages (Phil. Trans. 1665 1 140-143) doi:10.1098/rstl.1665.0066.
- C. A. Ronan, Laurence Rooke (1622–1662), Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 15, (Jul., 1960), pp. 113–118.
- Venn, J.; Venn, J. A., eds. (1922–1958). "Rooke, Lawrence". Alumni Cantabrigienses (10 vols) (online ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Concise Dictionary of National Biography
- Andrew Pyle (editor), Dictionary of Seventeenth Century British Philosophers (2000), p. 691.
- Christopher Hill, God's Englishman (1972 edition), pp. 250–1.
- Michael McKeon, The Origins of the English Novel, 1600–1740 (2002), p. 102.