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A New Natural History of the Plants, Animals and Minerals of Mexico
Hernandez, Francisco (1651)

Publication of this work was widely anticipated as a guide to the “fountain of youth.” Hernandez enjoyed the reputation of being the “Pliny of the New World.” The result transformed Old World natural history. In Galileo’s world, European progress in the life sciences directly depended upon the... more


A Voyage to the Islands Madera, Barbados, Nieves, S. Christophers and Jamaica, vol. 1
Sloane, Hans (1707-1725)

After studying with the chemist Robert Boyle and the naturalist John Ray, Sloane embarked on a voyage to Jamaica. In these two volumes, Sloane described about 800 species of plants he collected. Sloane included 48 extracts from Hernandez. He strove to improve many plant illustrations, such as... more


A Voyage to the Islands Madera, Barbados, Nieves, S. Christophers and Jamaica, vol. 2
Sloane, Hans (1707-1725)

After studying with the chemist Robert Boyle and the naturalist John Ray, Sloane embarked on a voyage to Jamaica. In these two volumes, Sloane described about 800 species of plants he collected. Sloane included 48 extracts from Hernandez. He strove to improve many plant illustrations, such as... more


Natural History
Nieremberg, Juan Eusebio (1635)

Nieremberg saw an unpublished manuscript of Hernandez. Many of his descriptions of plants and animals relied upon Hernandez and other sources from Mexico and Peru. In classification, Nieremberg retained Hernandez’ use of native Nahuatl names. Some of his woodblocks are the first known... more


Non-European Plants
Clusius, Carolus (1605)

Charles L’Ecluse, or Clusius, created the Hortus Academicus garden at the University of Leiden where he was a professor. His works reported the latest discoveries in natural history from Alpine regions in Europe and from Spanish territories around the world. Clusius sought information from... more


On Natural History
Imperato, Ferrante (1599)

Cabinets of curiosity were museums in miniature, combining books, fossils, antiquarian and natural history objects. While in Naples to meet della Porta, Cesi met Ferrante Imperato. Imperato held in his remarkable cabinet of curiosities a manuscript copy of the natural history of Mexico by... more


Representations of Plants
Munting, Abraham (1702)

Munting’s natural history drew upon two editions of Hernandez, both the Lynx edition published in Rome in 1651 and an earlier printing in Mexico City (1615), known as the Quatro Libros. When Francisco Hernandez returned from Mexico to Spain in 1577, he prepared a Latin manuscript for King Philip... more


The Botanic Garden
Darwin, Erasmus (1790)

Erasmus Darwin, the grandfather of Charles Darwin, propounded an evolutionary theory in this widely popular didactic poem on plants. In Part 2, “Loves of the Plants,” he inserted a footnote about manzanilla (also known as chamomile). Erasmus likely drew his information from a lengthy extract of... more


Anatomical Illustrations
Eustachi, Bartolomeo (1716)

Lost plates for treatises on teeth, hearing and the kidneys, rediscovered: In the 1560’s, Eustachi, a professor of medicine in the Collegia della Sapienza in Rome, wrote several treatises devoted to particular organs of the body, including a pioneering work on the teeth. A work on the kidneys... more


Anatomical Observations
Steno, Nicolaus (1662)

Stensen’s duct, by a founder of geology: Steno, a physician who worked for Ferdinand II de Medici in Florence, is known to generations of geologists as the founder of stratigraphy and an early advocate of the organic origin of fossils. But as Niels Stensen, he is known to medical students for... more


Anatomy, 1507
Luzzi, Mondino dei  (1507)

Medieval human dissection manual: Written in 1316 by a professor of medicine at the University of Padua, the Anatomy of Mondino was the most widely-used manual for human dissection in the middle ages. To the modern eye, the most striking thing about this early edition is the lack of... more


Anatomy, 1541
Luzzi, Mondino dei  (1541)

Art and anatomy converging in an illustrated manual: These human figures are more than utilitarian: walking against a real background, posed as if revealing to our eyes the unseen beauty and wonder of human anatomy; they also reflect an increasingly artistic approach to the human body.


Commentary on the Canon of Ibn Sina (Avicenna)
Santorio, Santorio (1646)

Galileo’s physics, applied to medicine: Santorio Santorio (also known as Sanctorio or Sanctorius) practiced medicine in Padua, in the Venetian Republic. Santorio, Galileo, Giofrancesco Sagredo and Paolo Sarpi frequently collaborated in empirical investigations and moved in the same intellectual... more


Correspondence
Vesalius, Andreas (1546)

ABC’s of the life of medical students: The decorative initials used in this edition of Vesalius’ correspondence are identical to 22 different initials originally printed in De fabrica (1543). Such “historiated initials” tell stories. In the case of De fabrica, little putti carry out the various... more


Living Anatomy
von Hellwig, Christoph (1720)

Four leaves of colored, interactive anatomical flaps appear throughout this popular anatomical textbook, which recapitulates the combination of art, engineering and anatomy in Galileo’s world. As a pop-up flap book, it represents both the mechanical approach to the body and an engineering... more


On Anatomy
Colombo, Matteo Realdo (1559)

Between Vesalius and Harvey at Padua: Colombo, a student of Vesalius at Padua, elucidated the pulmonary circulation and described the mitral valve of the heart. William Harvey frequently cited Colombo in his De motu cordis, (On the Circulation of the Blood, 1628). A remarkable teacher-student... more


On the Body, 1662
Descartes, René (1662)

The body in mechanical philosophy: Descartes applied the mechanical philosophy to every field of natural knowledge, including cosmology, meteorology, the Earth, astronomy and, in this book, the human body. The human body appeared to pose some of the greatest challenges to explanations couched... more


On the Body, 1677
Descartes, René (1677)

The illustration of the heart in this French edition shows a different artistic style than the Latin edition.


On the Dissection of the Parts of the Human Body
Estienne, Charles (1545)

Clip art with woodblocks: Estienne obtained a number of woodblocks from an obscure artist. To show anatomical detail, he cut little rectangles out of the art woodblocks and substituted his own diagrammatic drawings. If you look closely, you can see the white outlines of the rectangular diagram,... more


On the Fabric of the Human Body, 1543
Vesalius, Andreas (1543)

Best known work of early modern anatomy: Vesalius was fortunate to team up with Jan Stephan van Calcar, a world class artist. Even the human skeletons reveal an aesthetic appreciation of the human body. The images of De fabrica are often regarded as Vesalius’ major contribution to Renaissance... more


On the Motion of Animals, 1680 - 81
Borelli, Giovanni (1680-81)

The physics of bones and muscles: Borelli, a practicing mathematician and engineer as well as a physician, analyzed the musculoskeletal system in terms of the mechanics of the lever and other simple machines. Borelli studied under Galileo’s student Castelli, along with Torricelli. He was a... more


The Anatomical Exercises of Dr. William Harvey
Harvey, William (1653)

Harvey’s discovery of the circulation of the blood, first time in English: Concluding a series of brilliant teachers and students at the medical school of Padua that included Vesalius, Colombo, and Acquapendente (a friend of Galileo’s), Harvey marshaled a combination of quantitative,... more


A Description of the Marvelous Rule of Logarithms
Napier, John (1614)

In this book, Napier presented logarithmic methods of calculation in more than 50 pages of explanation, followed by 90 pages of numerical tables. “Logarithm” derives from “logos” (proportion) and “arithmos” (number). Logarithmic methods substituted simple addition for complex operations of... more


Book on Calculation
Borgi, Pietro (1517)

Borgi’s book on the abacus was the most important commercial arithmetic manual in Renaissance Italy. Around 1200, Leonardo of Pisa, also known as Fibonnacci, wrote an earlier manual for the abacus which introduced a sign for zero, Hindu-Arabic numerals, and a base-10 place value system.


Description and Use of an Instrument, Called the Double Scale of Proportion
Partridge, Seth (1692)

After a century of calculating instrument innovation, Partridge created the slide-rule. Edmund Gunter designed a logarithmic scale in 1620. William Oughtred placed two logarithmic scales side-by-side to perform multiplication and division in 1630. Partridge combined the scales, one inside the... more


Notes
Lovelace, Ada (1843)

These notes comprise one of the most important papers in the history of computing. Lovelace explained how Babbage’s “analytical engine,” if constructed, would amount to a programmable computer rather than merely a calculator. It would take input from punch cards and produce novel results by... more


On Mathematics
Schott, Gaspar (1668)

In this mathematics textbook, Schott explained the rod-based calculating machine designed by his fellow Jesuit, Athanasius Kircher. The philosopher Leibniz also created a calculating machine, described in 1666, which he offered to the emperor of China.


Star Viewer
Schickard, William (1698)

Schickard, a friend of Kepler’s, designed this planisphere or “astroscopium” to calculate the positions of the stars for any day and hour of the year. Schickard also devised a calculating machine to produce astronomical tables according to Kepler’s laws.


Cosmography, 1545
Apian, Peter (1545)

In this introduction to astronomy and geography, the Moon lies embedded within a solid sphere carrying it around the Earth once a month. The solid sphere explains why the same side of the Moon always faces the Earth. High overhead the stars appear fixed in the patterns of the constellations, as... more


On the Dream of Scipio
Macrobius,  (1521)

This work by Macrobius (5th century) illustrates the wealth of ancient and early medieval literary sources relevant to cosmology. Macrobius here comments upon a classic story of Cicero which described a vision given to the Roman general Scipio. In a dream, Scipio ascended through the heavens... more


The Nuremberg Chronicle
Schedel, Hartmann (1493)

In the most lavishly illustrated book of the 1400’s, solid spheres ceaselessly turn, carrying the planets and filling the universe between the outermost heaven and the central Earth. Exalted far above the Earth and the elemental regions beneath the Moon, these solid spheres, incorruptible,... more


Illustration and Description of the Incomparably Great Comet (1680)

The great comet of 1680 illumines the sky above Nuremberg. One person among the onlooking crowd observes through a hand-held telescope. This was the first comet to be discovered by a telescope. Gottfried Kirch, a German astronomer, first saw it on November 14, 1680. The comet reached its peak... more


On Comets
Hevelius, Johann (1668)

The frontispiece shows three views of the paths of comets: the Aristotelian theory that they consist of vapors beneath the Moon (left); Kepler’s theory that comets move in straight lines (right); and Hevelius’ view that they originate in the outer regions and descend in a parabolic trajectory... more


The Climactic Year
Hevelius, Johann (1685)

In astrology, a “climactic year” marks a turning point, a moment of greatest risk. The preface explains that 1679 was Hevelius’ climactic year, for in that year his observatory burned. Fire destroyed manuscripts, books and instruments, including his sextant. He was 67 years old. After his death... more


A Comparison of the Weights for The Astronomical Balance and the Small Scale
Grassi, Oratio (1627)

The Jesuit astronomers who had celebrated Galileo’s telescopic discoveries during his visit to Rome in 1611 now felt estranged by the biting satire of the The Assayer. The controversy concluded with this final reply. Both comets and cosmic systems remained enigmas. If mathematical methods and... more


A Probing of the Astronomical Balance
Stelluti, Giovanni Battista (1622)

In the Scandaglio, Galileo’s friends tried to refute Grassi’s Astronomical Balance. This obscure and mysterious work appeared under the name of the brother of the better-known Francesco Stelluti, one of the founders of the Academy of the Lynx and friend of Galileo and Prince Cesi. It was... more


Discourse on the Comets
Galileo ,  (1619)

In this book, Galileo opened a “Controversy over the Comets” by attacking Grassi. Published under the name of his student, Mario Guiducci, it was actually written almost entirely by Galileo himself. Galileo was concerned lest the three comets of 1618 be taken as confirmation of the Tychonic... more


On the Comets of the years 1607 & 1618
Kepler, Johann (1619)

In this minor work, Kepler offered an analysis of comets that agreed with Grassi’s.


On the Three Comets of 1618
Grassi, Oratio (1619)

In 1618, three comets appeared, visible to the unaided eye. These were the first comets to be observed with the telescope. Grassi was the leading astronomer in Rome and a professor at the Rome College (Collegio Romano). As a Jesuit, Grassi was charged with teaching nothing in science contrary to... more


The Assayer, early state
Galileo ,   (1623)

The crest of the Barberini family, showing three busy bees, appears at the top of the frontispiece. Galileo’s supporter, Cardinal Maffeo Barberini, had become Pope Urban VIII. The election of Barberini seemed to assure Galileo of support at the highest level in the Church. The book was dedicated... more


The Assayer, later state
Galileo ,   (1623)

Although Galileo eloquently championed mathematical methods in science, the main target of his wit and sarcasm in The Assayer was Grassi, a fellow astronomer, whose mathematical methods proved that comets move above the Moon. Galileo countered that comets are an optical illusion, produced by... more


The Astronomical Balance
Grassi, Oratio (1619)

In this book, Grassi responded to the criticism of Guiducci/Galileo. Comets seemed to provide a test of the Copernican and Tychonic systems: if the Earth were moving, then with three comets, one might have hoped to see at least one of them retrograding. In the controversy over the comets, the... more


The Shield-Bearer for Tycho Brahe
Kepler, Johann (1625)

In his second and last contribution to the “Controversy over the Comets,” Kepler stepped in as a “shield-bearer” to defend Tycho from Galileo’s attacks. As a champion of novel mathematical methods in science, Galileo might have had an incentive to make common cause with Grassi and Kepler against... more


Treatise on the Sphere
Grassi, Oratio (1623)

In the same year that Galileo published The Assayer, Grassi delivered these lectures to Jesuit students in the Rome College (Collegio Romano). Grassi describes Galileo’s discovery of mountains on the Moon, discusses the satellites of Jupiter, and interprets sunspots as imperfections on the... more


Dialogue on Ancient and Modern Music
Galilei, Vincenzo (1581)

From childhood, Galileo’s world was shaped by music. His father, Vincenzo Galilei, was a prominent music theorist who contributed to the development of Italian opera. This book, Vincenzo’s major work, was acquired in Fall 2014 with assistance from the Athletics Department.


Harmony of the Universe
Kepler, Johann (1619)

In this work, Kepler integrated theoretical astronomy and music, showing that the motions of the planets employ the same numerical ratios as the most harmonious musical scales. Kepler’s “harmonic law” still describes how planets and stars and satellites and galaxies revolve around one another in... more


Elements of Geometry, 1570
Euclid,  (1570)

Euclid was the starting point for any further study of optics and perspective. Optics combined geometry, experiment, vision and art. In the presentation of the geometrical solids, this copy retains the original pop-ups. Euclid worked in Alexandria at the time of the first king in the Ptolemy... more


Moral Essays
Alberti, Leon Battista (1568)

This anthology of the works of Alberti, a humanist scholar, contains the printed edition of his treatise, “On Painting,” a work he originally dedicated to Brunelleschi. “Alberti’s window,” a technique of painting as if the canvas were an exact replica of a window, helped to solidify artists’... more


Perspective
Peckham, John (1556)

The Perspectiva of Peckham (13th century) became the established university textbook on perspective. It was the text Galileo likely used in his early studies of optics. Renaissance artists were well-versed in the classic works on perspective. For example, the Florentine sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti... more


Principles of Geometry
Dürer, Albrecht (1535)

This landmark work by Albrecht Dürer presents several variations on the technique of “Alberti’s window.” Here the artist is creating a drawing of a lute with true perspective by means of a string drawn from the object, through the canvas window, to the vanishing point on the wall. Dürer’s work... more


The Curiosities of Perspective
Nicéron, Jean François (1663)

While visiting Florence, Niceron was shown a unique perspective drawing tool devised by the painter Cigoli, one of Galileo’s friends. He viewed examples of anamorphic drawing techniques and Alberti’s perspective boxes. All of these make an appearance in this treatise.


The Divine Proportion
Pacioli, Luca (1509)

Consider this geometrical drawing, portrayed with true perspective and a mastery of light and shadow. It comes from a treatise on art and mathematics by Luca Pacioli, yet it was not drawn by Pacioli. In the preface, Pacioli explained that Leonardo da Vinci provided the geometrical figures... more


The Practice of Perspective
Sirigatti, Lorenzo (1596)

This beautiful work by Sirigatti, published in 1596, brings the tradition of perspective drawing up to Galileo’s time. Sirigatti was a member of the Academy of Drawing (Accademia del Disegno), a school for artists and engineers where Galileo studied as a young man. The work, which was acquired... more


Treasury of Optics
al-Haytham, Ibn (1572)

The frontispiece depicts a variety of optical phenomena: Reflection. Refraction. Perspective. The rainbow. Burning mirrors.


Treatise on Painting
da Vinci, Leonardo  (1651)

Despite a lack of publications, Leonardo’s fame grew as word of his notebooks spread. The first book by Leonardo to be printed was his Treatise on Painting, published a century after his death. This work conveys Leonardo’s views on mathematical proportion and the human body, and the physiology... more


Works… A New Science
Tartaglia, Niccolo (1606)

Niccolò Tartaglia argued for the use of mathematics in physics, engineering and art. Tartaglia’s frontispiece shows Euclid guarding the gate of knowledge. Just inside, Perspectiva stands among the sciences that open the way to Philosophia. Tartaglia was a teacher of Ostilio Ricci, court... more


A Geometrical Reconstruction of On Conic Sections by Aristaeus
Viviani, Vincenzo (1701)

In this work, Viviani reconstructed an ancient study of conic sections by Aristaeus the Elder (4th century B.C.E.). Viviani became Galileo’s student and assistant in 1639. In 1690, at the entrance to his residence in Florence, Viviani erected a public monument to Galileo which contributed to the... more


An Abstract of the Learned Treatise... the Introduction upon Mars
Kepler, Johann (1661)

In the New Astronomy (Astronomia nova 1609), Kepler demonstrated with respect to Mars what we now call his first two laws of planetary motion. In the preface to that work, translated here, Kepler answered objections to Copernicus based upon Scripture. Salusbury made Kepler’s preface available to... more


Defense of Galileo
Campanella, Tommaso (1622)

Campanella, a Dominican theologian, wrote this defense of the compatibility of Scripture and Copernicanism from his cell in Naples, where he was serving a life sentence for opposition to Spanish rule of southern Italy. Although he greatly admired Galileo, his actual cosmological views were... more


Dialogue on the Two Chief Systems of the World
Galileo,  (1632)

Featuring Galileo's Handwriting. This is Galileo’s witty and entertaining dialogue in defense of Copernicus. In the frontispiece, Aristotle and Ptolemy hold an Earth-centered armillary sphere (left). Copernicus holds a Sun-centered model of the universe (right). Just two systems... more


Letter on the Pythagorean and Copernican Opinion on the Motion of the Earth and Stability of the Sun
Foscarini, Paolo (1635)

The Carmelite theologian Foscarini defended Copernicanism as compatible with Scripture in this open letter, originally printed in Naples in 1615. Foscarini employed arguments similar to Galileo’s own Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina, penned in the same year. In the Inquisition’s decree of... more


Letter to Madame Christina of Lorraine
Galileo,  (1967)

Galileo’s Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina provides a modern example of the book arts. The outer case opens to show a smaller case, the size of a miniature version published a century ago. The 1967 edition fits entirely within the circumference of a nickel. A flea-glass to read it is... more


The Ancient and Modern Doctrine of Holy Fathers
Galileo,  (1661)

This volume contains the first English translations of any of Galileo’s works, including Galileo’s Dialogue on the Two Chief Systems of the World, the book for which he was put on trial. It also includes the most important documents related to Scripture and Copernicanism, including Galileo’s... more


The Ancient and Modern Doctrines of the Holy Fathers
Galileo,  (1636)

In response to gathering criticism, Galileo in 1615 wrote a reconciliation of Scripture and Copernicanism which circulated in manuscript as the Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina. This is the first printed edition, which appeared in 1636. In theory, nothing would have prevented theologians at... more


Starry Messenger
Galileo,  (1610)

Featuring Galileo's Handwriting. When Galileo heard news of telescopes invented in the Netherlands he worked out the underlying geometry and crafted one of his own design. In this work, Galileo published the first observations of the heavens made with the telescope. His... more


The Works of Giorgio Vasari, vol. 1
Vasari , Giorgio (1878-85)

Astronomers and artists alike studied the science of perspective. The title page of the Sidereus nuncius refers to the telescope as a little “perspective tube” (perspicilli). Galileo grew up in an artistic environment, immersed in the aesthetic traditions and artistic culture of Renaissance... more


The Works of Giorgio Vasari, vol. 2
Vasari , Giorgio (1878-85)

Astronomers and artists alike studied the science of perspective. The title page of the Sidereus nuncius refers to the telescope as a little “perspective tube” (perspicilli). Galileo grew up in an artistic environment, immersed in the aesthetic traditions and artistic culture of Renaissance... more


The Works of Giorgio Vasari, vol. 3
Vasari , Giorgio (1878-85)

Astronomers and artists alike studied the science of perspective. The title page of the Sidereus nuncius refers to the telescope as a little “perspective tube” (perspicilli). Galileo grew up in an artistic environment, immersed in the aesthetic traditions and artistic culture of Renaissance... more


The Works of Giorgio Vasari, vol. 4
Vasari , Giorgio (1878-85)

Astronomers and artists alike studied the science of perspective. The title page of the Sidereus nuncius refers to the telescope as a little “perspective tube” (perspicilli). Galileo grew up in an artistic environment, immersed in the aesthetic traditions and artistic culture of Renaissance... more


The Works of Giorgio Vasari, vol. 5
Vasari , Giorgio (1878-85)

Astronomers and artists alike studied the science of perspective. The title page of the Sidereus nuncius refers to the telescope as a little “perspective tube” (perspicilli). Galileo grew up in an artistic environment, immersed in the aesthetic traditions and artistic culture of Renaissance... more


The Works of Giorgio Vasari, vol. 6
Vasari , Giorgio (1878-85)

Astronomers and artists alike studied the science of perspective. The title page of the Sidereus nuncius refers to the telescope as a little “perspective tube” (perspicilli). Galileo grew up in an artistic environment, immersed in the aesthetic traditions and artistic culture of Renaissance... more


The Works of Giorgio Vasari, vol. 7
Vasari , Giorgio (1878-85)

Astronomers and artists alike studied the science of perspective. The title page of the Sidereus nuncius refers to the telescope as a little “perspective tube” (perspicilli). Galileo grew up in an artistic environment, immersed in the aesthetic traditions and artistic culture of Renaissance... more


The Works of Giorgio Vasari, vol. 8
Vasari , Giorgio (1878-85)

Astronomers and artists alike studied the science of perspective. The title page of the Sidereus nuncius refers to the telescope as a little “perspective tube” (perspicilli). Galileo grew up in an artistic environment, immersed in the aesthetic traditions and artistic culture of Renaissance... more


School of the Stars
Capra, Baldessar (1606)

Galileo kept the design of his engineering compass carefully guarded, yet a dispute over intellectual property rights ensued. In 1607, Baldassar Capra published under his own name a Latin translation of Galileo's Compasso, including instructions for making the instrument. Galileo reacted sharply... more


The Operations of the Geometrical and Military Compass, 1606
Galilei, Galileo (1606)

Featuring Galileo's Handwritting. Galileo dedicated the manual for his engineering compass to young Cosimo II de Medici, whom he had tutored in mathematics the previous summer. Galileo had the instrument made in his own home, and supplemented his university income by teaching... more


The Operations of the Geometrical and Military Compass, 1635
Galilei, Galileo (1635)

After Capra, the design of Galileo’s compass became widely known. Later editions included illustrations of Galileo’s instrument.


Aristotle’s Masterpiece
,  (1788)

Family medical handbook: Works entitled “Aristotle’s Masterpiece” were family health guides, written in the vernacular, offering practical remedies and advice for life cycle care, sexual relations, prenatal care, birthing and midwifery, hygiene and health. This particular edition is entitled, “... more


Army Sanitary Administration and its Reform under the late Lord Herbert
Nightingale, Florence (1862)

Organization of nursing as a profession: Florence Nightingale championed social reform and the organization of nursing as a profession. During the Crimean War, she organized the care of injured soldiers, making the rounds at night as the “Lady with the lamp.” Her emphasis on hygiene and hand-... more


Collected Works
Paracelsus,  (1603)

Nieremberg saw an unpublished manuscript of Hernandez. Many of his descriptions of plants and animals relied upon Hernandez and other sources from Mexico and Peru. In classification, Nieremberg retained Hernandez’ use of native Nahuatl names. Some of his woodblocks are the first known... more


Critical Commentary on the Official Austrian Pharmacopoeia
von Raszynya, Huszty (1785)

Rebellion against the limitations of 18th century HMOs: The frontispiece to this work protests the limited medicines available from the official apothecary. The Pharmacopoeia Austriaco-provincialis (Vienna, 1774) mandated the medicines and remedies to be made available. In the late 18th century... more


Garden of Health
,  (1491)

Medieval remedies and natural knowledge: An explosion of 16th-century herbals dramatically extended the “materia medica” tradition deriving from ancient writers, assimilating a vast increase in the number of known plants. This work represents the herbal tradition at the infancy of printing, its... more


Medical Remedies
Hildegard of Bingen,  (1533)

Free medical care from the medieval Abbess who composed music, rebuked rulers, saw visions and wrote many books: In the Middle Ages, convents were places where anyone might seek free health care. In this book Hildegard, Abbess of convents at Rupertsberg and Elbingen in the 12th century,... more


Ophthalmology
Bartisch, Georg (1583)

First book devoted to diseases of the eyes: In addition to professors in universities who published in Latin, health-care practitioners outside the universities, such as barber-surgeons and apothecaries, printed medical texts in the vernacular. This book, written in German, is the first printed... more


The Anatomy of Melancholy
Burton, Robert (1628)

The “influenza” of Saturn brings melancholy: On one occasion, Galileo was called as an expert medical witness in a trial to testify about the physical effects of melancholy. In humoral medicine, the human body, like other bodies beneath the Moon, is made of the four sublunar elements: earth,... more


The Cow Pox
Jenner, Edward (1798)

The quest to eliminate smallpox through vaccination: Jenner, a student of John Hunter, knowing that milkmaids who contracted cowpox became immune to smallpox, surmised that pus from cowpox blisters could be used to vaccinate anyone against smallpox. Jenner employed an arm-to-arm method of... more


The Natural History of Human Teeth
Hunter, John (1803)

The foundational work for modern dentistry, including tooth transplants: Hunter established a new system of nomenclature for teeth and studied the development of teeth from birth. That tooth transplants were successfully performed in Victorian Britain is due to the experiments behind this book,... more


The Pearl of Knowledge
Reisch, Gregor (1599)

Why physicians studied astronomy: Zodiac Man diagrams like this one reveal the hidden correspondences between the organs of the body (the microcosm) and the influences of the stars and planets that affect them (the microcosm). The ability to perform technical astrological calculations was one... more


Theater of Plantes
Parkinson, John (1640)

An explosion of plant knowledge: Herbals provided much more than biology or natural history information; they offered guidance for health, nutrition and common remedies. Two of the most important early English herbals are John Gerard’s Herball, and this work by Gerard’s student, John Parkinson.... more


Works of Hippocrates
Hippocrates,  (1588)

Greek edition of Hippocrates by a friend of Galileo: Mercuriale collected the various Greek texts of the Hippocratic corpus and published them here in Greek with parallel Latin translations. The title page of this edition illustrates various figures of ancient medicine, including Galen and... more


Flowers, or, On the Cultivation of Flower Gardens, 1664
Ferrari, Giovanni Battista (1664)

This work, first published in the year of Galileo’s trial (1633), contains the first use of microscopic illustration in a botanical work. Ferrari described many exotic plants, including limes, lemons and pomegranates, and citron, which he prescribed as medicinal plants against scurvy. Yet unlike... more


The Advantages of Country Living
de’ Crescenzi, Pietro  (1471)

This is the earliest published work on agriculture, a manual for managing a feudal estate. It is an ancestor to the early printed herbals, and explains what plants one must cultivate to be able to make the common remedies. The first page, printed with movable type, was illuminated by hand with... more


The Herball, 1597
Gerard, John (1597)

Gerard, an estate manager for Queen Elizabeth’s chief executive, was in contact with naturalists around the world who sent him both plants and soil to grow them in. The first illustration of the “Virginia potato” appears in this volume. The history of the world would have been quite different if... more


The Interrogation of Plants
Colonna, Fabio (1592)

This book by Colonna, a member of the Lynx and a major contributor to the Hernandez natural history of Mexico, is the first book containing copperplate engravings of plants. 26 copperplate engravings show much more detail than was possible with woodcuts, as is evident by comparing Colonna’s... more


The Natural History of Plants, 1542
Fuchs, Leonhart (1542)

Fuchs extracted the best knowledge available from Galen, Dioscorides and Pliny. Fuchs gave each plant a German name as well as the traditional Latin. He described nearly 100 northern European plants unknown to previous physicians. Fuchs combined careful textual scholarship with striking... more


The Natural History of Plants, 1551
Fuchs, Leonhart (1551)

Herbals were illustrated, colored, and issued both in large folios and small, economical, hand-sized, field-guide formats like this one.


Almagest, ed. Regiomontanus
Ptolemy, Claudius (1496)

Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaios) lived in Alexandria, Egypt, in the second century. Ptolemy’s technical work on astronomy, originally written in Greek, was titled Almagest (“The Greatest”) by its Arabic translators. Ptolemy’s Almagest represents the culmination of ancient Babylonian and Greek... more


Almagest, ed. Reinhold
Ptolemy, Claudius (1549)

Erasmus Reinhold, a professor at Wittenberg who was sympathetic to Copernicus, published the first Greek edition of Ptolemy’s Almagest.


Four Books
Ptolemy, Claudius (1610)

The most popular ancient work on astrology was Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos, as it was known in Greek, or Quadripartitum in Latin. Astrology provided the context in which astronomy was pursued.


Harmonics
Ptolemy, Claudius (1682)

Ptolemy’s influential music theory was related to his astronomy. Through sight, we apprehend beauty through astronomy. Through hearing, we apprehend beauty through harmony. As planets move through the circle of the Zodiac, they also move through various musical intervals, creating a harmony of... more


On the Divine Faculty of Stars
Offusius, Johann Franciscus (1570)

This work on astrology was written by the leader of a Paris circle of astronomers. That group extensively annotated the OU copy of Copernicus within a decade after it was printed.


On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, 1543
Copernicus, Nicolaus (1543)

Copernicus argued that the Sun rather than the Earth lies in the center of the universe. The Earth moves as a planet around the Sun. In 1543 little proof was available that the Earth moves; there were many reasons not to accept it. Ptolemaic astronomy, as represented in the Epitome of... more


Sacred Mystery of the Structure of the Cosmos
Kepler, Johann (1596)

By far the best known 16th-century defender of Copernicus was Johann Kepler. In this work he demonstrated that vast empty regions lying between the planetary spheres, which were required by Copernicus, were not wasted space. Rather, these gaps perfectly matched, within the limits of... more


Book of Leggings
Nobutoyo,  (ca. 1846)

Galileo’s mechanics demonstrated that projectiles follow a parabolic path. This is true whether the projectile is a cannonball, an arrow or a football. This set of four Japanese Samurai manuscripts, drawn on rice paper in the mid 1800’s, was copied by hand from mid-16th-century sources.


Book of the Arrow
Nobutoyo,  (ca. 1846)

Galileo’s mechanics demonstrated that projectiles follow a parabolic path. This is true whether the projectile is a cannonball, an arrow or a football. This set of four Japanese Samurai manuscripts, drawn on rice paper in the mid 1800’s, was copied by hand from mid-16th-century sources.


Commentary on Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics
Philoponus,  (1504)

In the 6th century, the Greek physicist and theologian Philoponus constructed an anti-Aristotelian theory of motion. For Philoponus, an “impressed incorporeal motive force” explains the motion of a top, a projectile, and falling bodies. In Athens, Philoponus dropped objects of varying weights... more


Elements of Geometry, 1482
Euclid,  (1482)

Euclid was the starting point for a mathematical approach to physics. This is the 1st printed edition. The beautiful woodcuts are hand-colored in this copy. The text of the first page was printed in both black and red ink. The geometrical diagrams were quite difficult to prepare.


Euclid's Elements of Geometry, 1589, vol. 1
Clavius, Christoph (1589)

Not all versions of Euclid’s Elements were created equal. Clavius prepared this edition for his students at the Rome College (Collegio Romano). If these editions of Euclid were used in different courses, which course would you take?


Euclid's Elements of Geometry, 1589, vol. 2
Clavius, Christoph (1589)

Not all versions of Euclid’s Elements were created equal. Clavius prepared this edition for his students at the Rome College (Collegio Romano). If these editions of Euclid were used in different courses, which course would you take?


Euclid's Elements of Geometry, 1594
Al-Tusi, Nasir ad-Din (1594)

This Arabic text of Euclid came from the circle of the Persian astronomer al-Tusi (13th century). Al-Tusi worked in Baghdad and in the observatory of Maragha, in modern northwestern Iran. Printing Arabic with moveable type was a technological challenge. This book was not printed in Baghdad or... more


Euclide
Tartaglia, Niccolo (1543)

Tartaglia, a teacher of a teacher of Galileo, produced the first vernacular translation of Euclid’s Elements of Geometry.


Galileo, Mechanics
Marsenne, Marin (1634)

As a young scientist-engineer, Galileo wrote two manuscripts on motion. The first, Delle macchine, written ca. 1592; reflected the tradition of Aristotle’s Mechanics. It was never printed. The second, revised study, Le mechaniche, written ca. 1598, depended more upon Archimedes and Guidobaldo... more


Mathematical Discourses
Galileo ,   (1730)

This is the first separate English edition of Galileo’s Discourse on Two New Sciences, his masterwork in mathematical physics. The “two new sciences” are tensile strength and motion. The science of motion, or mechanics, includes the parabolic motion of projectiles and Galileo’s law of free fall... more


Mathematical Works
Stevin, Simon (1634)

Stevin’s work represents that of a scientist-engineer in the Low Countries, whose major works appeared in Dutch. Like the scientist-engineers of Italy, Stevin maintained water systems and improved fortifications. He investigated the mechanics of motion, falling bodies and hydraulics. Stevin’s... more


On Mechanics
Monte, Guidobaldo del (1577)

Hero described five simple machines: the lever, pulley, wheel, wedge and screw. In this theoretical investigation of the foundations of mechanics, Guidobaldo demonstrated that all five machines could be deduced from the principle of the lever. Instead of relying upon Aristotle’s Mechanics,... more


On Perspective
Monte, Guidobaldo del (1600)

Kepler, Galileo and Guidobaldo were the leading optical theorists of their generation. Galileo studied with Guidobaldo while he was composing this treatise. Galileo’s mastery of perspective was acknowledged by his student, Vincenzo Viviani, who wrote: “The famous Cigoli, regarded by Galileo as... more


On the Center of Gravity of Solids, 1661
Valerio, Luca (1661)

Analyzing the center of gravity of an object was a traditional problem addressed using the methods of Archimedes. Galileo referred to Valerio as “the Archimedes of our age” and recommended him for membership in the Academy of the Lynx. This copy contains many manuscript notations in the margins... more


Problems and Exercises in Aristotle’s Mechanics
Baldi, Bernardino (1621)

Aristotle’s Mechanics contained an analysis of the principles of motion and simple machines. While no longer accepted as an authentic work by Aristotle, its influence among Renaissance scientist-engineers was profound, as illustrated in this commentary by Baldi.


Secret Book of Hunger for the Target
Ise, Heizo Sadatake (ca. 1846)

Galileo’s mechanics demonstrated that projectiles follow a parabolic path. This is true whether the projectile is a cannonball, an arrow or a football. This set of four Japanese Samurai manuscripts, drawn on rice paper in the mid 1800’s, was copied by hand from mid-16th-century sources.


The Burning Mirror
Cavalieri, Bonaventura (1632)

Archimedes died defending the ancient city of Syracuse, on the island of Sicily, from the Carthaginian navy. Reports attributed the defense of the city to his ingenuity, including giant mirrors capable of setting attacking ships in the harbor on fire. Renaissance scientist-engineers applied the... more


Works, Archimedes
Archimedes,  (1543)

Archimedes (d. 212 B.C.) developed the law of the lever with his Treatise on the Balance. He contributed to arithmetic by devising methods for expressing extremely large numbers. He deduced many new geometrical theorems on spheres, cylinders, circles and spirals. He developed the concept of... more


Observations in Bologna of the rotation of Mars around its axis
Cassini, Giovanni Domenico (1666)

These 3 broadsides, issued approximately 2 weeks apart, contain the first detailed illustrations of Mars. Although the patches do not correspond to actual features discernible today, Cassini used them to determine that Mars rotates on its own axis, inclined to the ecliptic, with a period of 24... more


Revolutions of the Sea
Adhémar, Joseph Alphonse (1842)

Accepting Agassiz’ theory of the Ice Age, Adhémar proposed that an astronomical cycle – the precession of the equinoxes – affects the melting of polar ice caps and thereby may lead to a catastrophic rise in sea level around the globe. Adhémar’s theory influenced James Croll and the development... more


Studies on Glaciers
Agassiz, Louis (1840)

In 1840, Agassiz introduced a radical element of contingency into geohistory, contrary to then widespread assumptions of uninterrupted gradual cooling. On the basis of investigations of glacial activity in Switzerland, Agassiz marshaled evidence not just for local glacier action but for global... more


The Celestial Worlds Discover'd, or, Conjectures concerning the Inhabitants, Plants and Productions of the Worlds in the Planets
Huygens, Christiaan (1698)

In this translation of Huygens’ Kosmotheoros, Huygens took up questions of the habitability of other planets and the existence of extraterrestrial life. These topics were also considered by Kepler, Wilkins and other popular writers. Huygens attempted to correlate dark and light patches on the... more


The System of Saturn
Huygens, Christiaan (1659)

In this work, Huygens resolved the enigma of Saturn’s changing telescopic appearance by proposing that a ring surrounds Saturn at an angle, varying in visibility from the Earth.


On the Two Worlds, namely the Major and the Minor
Fludd, Robert (1617-1621)

For Robert Fludd, the universe is a monochord, its physical structure unintelligible without an understanding of music. In another section of the book, Fludd depicts the universe as a Temple of Music. Fludd sought to discern macrocosm-microcosm analogies, or correspondences, harmonies and... more


The Marriage of Philology and Mercury
Capella, Martianus (1499)

Capella described the seven liberal arts. The first three are grammar, logic or dialectic, and rhetoric. Then come the mathematical sciences, geometry and arithmetic. Geometrical circles in motion make astronomy. Numbers in motion make music. Capella also argued that Venus and Mercury revolve... more


Universal Music-Making
Kircher, Athanasius (1650)

This 17th-century treatise on music shows a mechanical, water-driven organ. Water enters on the right side of the diagram, turning a gear mechanism that animates a cylinder roll and keyboard. Musical notation cut into the cylinder roll determines the keys depressed for any given time. This is... more


Astronomical Calendar, 1476
Regiomontanus,  (1476)

In this book, Regiomontanus predicted the positions of the Sun and Moon for 40 years. He designed a sundial to work independently of one’s latitude, and a volvelle, or circular dial, to locate the position and phase of the Moon according to date and time. Books became observing instruments in... more


Astronomical Calendar, 1518
Stoeffler, Johann (1518)

A “calendarium” contains predictions of the positions of the Sun and Moon for several decades into the future. Regiomontanus calculated their positions for 40 years beginning in 1476; Stoeffler for 62 years from 1518-1579 inclusive. From the positions of the Sun and Moon, one may then predict... more


Astronomy Explained upon Sir Isaac Newton's Principles
Ferguson, James (1809)

Ferguson’s books, orreries, clocks and mechanical devices were studied with interest by Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine and William Herschel, among others.


Description and Use of Both the Globes, the Armillary Sphere, and Orrery
Martin, Benjamin (ca. 1760)

This book explains how to use the terrestrial and celestial globes, an armillary sphere (which shows the movements of the sky), and an orrery (which models the motions of the planets). Martin operated an instrument shop in London. He wrote perhaps 60 different publications to promote popular... more


Innovative Sundials
Baldi, Bernardino (ca. 1592)

This manuscript, a never-published treatise on sundials written in the author’s own hand, was lost in the 18th century and believed destroyed in a shipwreck. Baldi studied with one of Galileo’s teachers, Guidobaldo del Monte.


Introduction to the Astrolabe
Lansbergen, Philip van (1635)

Astronomers use astrolabes for dozens of astronomical operations including telling time by the Sun or stars and determining the positions of planets.


On the Quadrant
Lansbergen, Philip van (1635)

Astronomers use quadrants and sextants to measure angular distances in the night sky, such as the angular divergence between a planet and the nearest bright star. One may also measure the height of the North Star above the horizon, which is equal to one’s latitude on the Earth. Angular... more


On the Use and Fabrication of the Astrolabe
Danti, Egnazio (1578)

Danti was a cosmographer in the court of Cosimo I de Medici. Visitors to Florence today may view his stunning maps of the world in the Hall of Maps of the Palazzo Vecchio, as well as armillary spheres and a quadrant he mounted on the facade of the church of Santa Maria Novella. The Museo Galileo... more


General History of China, vol. 2
du Halde, J.B.  (1741)

The secret of silk farming spread from China to Korea and India about the beginning of the Common Era. Its international trade led to the establishment of the Silk Road, which extended over 4,000 miles and connected the major ancient and medieval civilizations from China to Asia Minor.


Introduction to Astronomy, 1706
Baba, Nobutake (1706)

This work, written by a Kyoto physician, represents Asian astronomy in the generation following Adam Schall. Baba countered superstitious interpretations of solar eclipses, and used magnetic theory rather than yin and yang to explain the tides. Baba adopted the Tychonic model of cosmology. His... more


Observations of Comets from B.C. 611 to A.D. 1640
Williams, John (1871)

A Chinese celestial atlas and chronological tables, reproduced in Williams’ own hand, appear in this record of 372 comet sightings from 611 B.C.E. to 1640 C.E. Williams undertook to compile and translate them from Chinese historical annals when an astronomer sought his help calculating the orbit... more


The Dutch Embassy to the Grand Tartar Chamum Sungteium, Modern Emperor of China
Nieuhof, Johann (1668)

This travel narrative and encyclopedia presented the most up-to-date information about China based on Jesuit sources and the knowledge of commercial traders. Its nearly 150 illustrations include double-page plates of Chinese landscapes and harbors, fold-out maps of China and of Beijing, and... more


The Philosopher of China
Confucius,  (1687)

Confucius lived in the early 5th century BCE, roughly contemporary with the Pythagoreans and Presocratic natural philosophers. Confucius taught: “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself,” an early version of the Golden Rule. Confucianism emphasized the cultivation of justice... more


The Yellow Emperor's Canon of Moxibustion
Dou, Guifang (1659)

This work is a commentary on the Ling-shu, a classic treatise on acupuncture and moxibustion. It describes treatments for a variety of conditions, with 45 depictions of acupuncture points for both adults and children.


New Science
Tartaglia, Niccolo (1558)

Tartaglia’s compass (also known as a “sector”) incorporated the functions of a quadrant and a caliper measuring device. His “new science” investigated the ballistics of cannonballs, laying a foundation for Galileo’s studies of projectile motion and free fall. Tartaglia taught Ostilio Ricci who... more


New Theater of Machines
Zonca, Vittorio (1621)

This “theater of machines” parades 40 different machines for any kind of purpose, whether a lock on a river, a book press or engraving press, or a device to prevent smoke from filling a room.Unlike the writings of Lorini and Galileo, which included theoretical investigations on the principles of... more


On Fortifications
Lorini, Buonaiuto (1597)

Drawing upon Archimedes, Lorini asserted that all machines of the fortress could be reduced to the balance and thus to the lever. From his home in Padua, Galileo taught a private course on fortifications from about 1592 to 1609. Both Lorini and Galileo were shaped by a Florentine circule of... more


On Pneumatics
Porta, Giambattista della (1606)

Della Porta explored various ideas for steam powered machines following the example of Hero of Alexandria. In antiquity, Hero fashioned marvelous automata using steam, air pressure, and hydraulics. Pneumatic engineering is but one example of della Porta’s larger enterprise of “Natural Magic,” in... more


On the Art of Fire
Biringuccio, Vannoccio (1540)

When Galileo needed to purchase plates of brass to make his engineering compass or commissioned glass to make better lenses, metalsmith, assayers and craftsmen in Venice employed operations similar to those described in Birunguccio’s metallurgical manual.


On the Nature of Metals
Agricola, Georg (1556)

Agricola described early modern mining and metallurgy practices throughout the German speaking areas of Europe. The remarkable illustrations make this work a paramount example of how abundant visual representations in the Printing Revolution transformed science and technology.


The Spectacle according to the Eye: Practical Optics
Manzini, Carlo Antonio (1660)

Galileo designed this lens grinding machine in 1639, when he was 75 years old. Galileo began grinding his own lenses as early as 1609. He continued to prepare lenses for telescopes and microscopes until late in life, both in Venice and in Florence, often working with his friend and colleague,... more


Treatise on the Measuring Stick
Orsini, Latino (1583)

This book is Orsini’s manual for using a measuring stick instrument which he designed and called a “radio latino.” With its changing angles, multiple sight lines, and various scales, it was useful for making astronomical measurements, surveying uneven topography, measuring a cannon’s bore or... more


Various and Ingenious Machines
Ramelli, Agostino (1588)

The ancient philosopher Hero described mechanics as the science of five simple machines: the lever, pulley, wheel, wedge and screw. These simple machines are combined in the complex inventions of Ramelli. Scientist-engineers capable of designing machines for lifting and transporting water, or... more


A Treatise of the System of the World
Newton, Isaac (1728)

Newton’s mathematical physics established an understanding of the dynamics of the solar system. Newton integrated Galileo’s law of projectile motion, illustrated here by the path of a cannonball, with the Keplerian paths of the Moon and other satellites as they fall in elliptical orbits around... more


An Original Theory or New Hypothesis of the Universe
Wright, Thomas (1750)

Wright proposed a model of the Milky Way as a flat wheel, and envisioned the nebulae as distant worlds upon worlds, far removed from the Milky Way itself.“That this in all Probability may be the real Case, is in some Degree made evident by the many cloudy Spots, just perceivable by us, as far... more


Catalog of Nebulae and Star Clusters
Messier, Charles (1774)

This is the first edition of Messier's catalog of cloudy spots or "nebulae," numbered from M1 to M45. In 1781, Messier published a final catalog of 103 nebulae, which are now called "Messier objects." The Great Orion Nebula is M42.

Comet watching required an ever more complete mapping of... more


Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, 1729
Newton, Isaac (1729)

This is the first English translation of Newton’s masterwork in physics. The Copernican idea that the Earth moves as a planet required a thorough revision of physics. Galileo undertook this task in his Discourse on Two New Sciences, published 80 years after Copernicus. With a mathematical... more


Memoir and Correspondence
Herschel, Caroline (1876)

The 19th century saw an unprecedented expansion of known objects in the universe. William and Caroline Herschel conducted a comprehensive search of northern skies with telescopes powerful enough to resolve many nebulae into star clusters. Their achievements include the discovery of Uranus in... more


The Milky Way… drawn at the Earl of Rosse's Observatory at Birr Castle
Boeddicker, Otto (1892)

Artful lithographs of the Milkyway from a leading English observatory.


The Realm of the Nebulae
Hubble, Edwin (1936)

Hubble’s investigations with the 100-inch Hooker Telescope at Mount Wilson observatory, overlooking Los Angeles, California, led to a dramatic expansion of the universe. For Hubble, the universe is not limited to the Milky Way galaxy. Rather, although many of the cloudy nebulae objects are gas... more


Appearances of the Sky
Aratus,  (1547)

Aratus, a Greek scientist and poet of the 3rd century B.C.E., offered practical advice for predicting the weather by learning to recognize the seasonal appearances of constellations. Constellations introduced include Andromeda, Orion and Taurus, and others included in the later star catalog of... more


Atlas of the Stars
Bode, Johann (1782)

Bode created a new constellation, Herschels Teleskop, near Auriga, to honor William Herschel’s discovery of Uranus in 1781. This Bode-Fortin-Flamsteed atlas is a 1782 German edition of Fortin’s 1776 reprinting of Flamsteed’s 1729 atlas. Bode included additional stars compared to the Fortin... more


Catalog of Southern Stars
Halley, Edmond (1679)

Edmond Halley, later of cometary fame, sailed to the South Pacific island of St. Helena. Over a period of 2 years, Halley recorded the positions of 341 southern stars in this table of the right ascensions and distances of the principal southern stars. No star map is included, but Hevelius would... more


Celestial Atlas,1776
Flamsteed, John (1776)

A globe maker for the French royal family, J. Fortin, prepared this edition of Flamsteed’s celestial atlas in a much reduced format. Flamsteed was the first Astronomer Royal, who oversaw the building of the Greenwich Observatory. Newton relied upon Flamsteed’s star positions in his Principia.... more


Poems, vol. 1
Lord Tennyson, Alfred (1843)

“Many a night I saw the Pleiades rising thro’ the mellow shade, glitter like a swarm of fire-flies Tangled in a silver braid.” “Locksley Hall,” 5th couplet.


Poems, vol. 2
Lord Tennyson, Alfred (1843)

“Many a night I saw the Pleiades rising thro’ the mellow shade, glitter like a swarm of fire-flies Tangled in a silver braid.” “Locksley Hall,” 5th couplet.


Poetical Works
Shelley, Percy Bysshe (1876-1877)

“Heaven’s utmost deep Gives up her stars, and like a flock of sheep They pass before his eye, are number’d, and roll on.” “Prometheus Unbound,” Act IV (lines 418-420)


Representing the Heavens
Coronelli, Vincenzo (1693)

The tiny size of a volume by Coronelli belies its historical importance: in this Epitome, Coronelli explained how to use celestial and terrestrial globes, and his techniques for constructing them. The Epitome describes how Coronelli famously constructed a pair of terrestrial and celestial globes... more


The Star-Splitter
Frost, Robert (1923)

In a comical ballad called “The Star-Splitter,” Robert Frost described a man outdoors splitting firewood after the first frost of autumn: “You know Orion always comes up sideways. Throwing a let up over our fence of mountains, And rising on his hands, he looks in on me Busy outdoors by lantern-... more


Works of Hesiod
Hesiod,  (1559)

In Works and Days, the poet Hesiod, a roughly contemporary of Homer, compiled guidelines for conducting life and forecasting the weather according to the stars. When Orion rises at sunset in autumn, sailors knew that the time had come to bring their ships to port: “…then the winds war aloud, And... more


Works, Byron
Byron, Lord (1815-1824)

“The night hath been to me a more familiar face than that of man, and in her starry shade of dim and solitary loveliness, I learned the language of another world.” (Manfred, Act 3, Scene 4)


Considerations on Tasso
Galileo,  (1793)

Galileo employed his scientific acumen to engage in the literary debates of the day. Here he considered the merits of Tasso and Ariosto, comparing both with Dante. Using his new physics of tensile strength, Galileo refuted Ariosto’s indiscriminate descriptions of giants. Galileo also gave... more


Essay on the Mineral Geography of the Paris Basin
Cuvier, Georges (1810)

Brongniart and Cuvier showed how fossils were the key to unravelling the order of the strata in the Paris basin. Their fieldwork discoveries and anatomical reconstructions of fossils of large quadrupeds demonstrated the existence of former, pre-human worlds. These pre-human strata corresponded... more


Natural History of Serpents and Dragons
Aldrovandi, Ulysses (1640)

Aldrovandi’s study of serpents describes those from northern Italy with great accuracy. Yet other serpents were reported in literature and by recent travelers. Aldrovandi warned the reader that he personally could not vouch for everything he reported, yet he judged it better to let the reader... more


The Angry Orlando
Ariosto, Ludovico (1672)

Ariosto’s famous epic poem is a lively, rambling, serial escapade from one humorous, ironic, sometimes ribald tall-tale to another. One example is the story of Duke Astolfo, Orlando’s cousin, who flew to the Moon in a chariot pulled by winged horses. On this second Earth, Astolfo discovered... more


The Historie of Foure-Footed Beastes
Topsell, Edward (1658)

Topsell’s natural history includes both familiar and exotic creatures, drawn from sources both new and old. Topsell describes the horse, reindeer and chameleon. He portrays the magnificent appearance of the rhinoceros in the artistic tradition of Dürer. An appendix surveys what was known of the... more


The Recoverie of Jerusalem
Tasso, Torquato (1624)

This poem became one of the most widely read works of European literature in the 17th century. Tasso created serious characters with human flaws, psychological depth, and even melancholy, setting them in the inspirational but ambiguous era of the Crusades. Despite Tasso’s popularity, Galileo... more


Letters on Sunspots
Galileo,  (1613)

In a 1611 book published by the Academy of the Lynx, the Jesuit astronomer Christoph Scheiner argued that sunspots are little planets circling the Sun like Venus. Galileo answered Scheiner with this book. Galileo’s detailed, full-page copperplate engravings set a new standard for presenting... more


The Rose of Orsini
Scheiner, Christoph (1630)

Scheiner, a Jesuit astronomer, eventually published the definitive work of the 17th century on sunspots, in which he accepted Galileo’s argument that sunspots “move like ships” on the surface of the Sun. Scheiner and Galileo agreed that sunspots counted against the Aristotelian doctrine of... more


Astronomical Foundation
Ursus, Nicolaus Reimarus (1588)

The cosmological system of Ursus is similar to that of Tycho Brahe. Both place the Earth in the center, and set the other planets revolving around the Sun. For Ursus, in contrast to Tycho, the Earth rotates around its axis once a day, allowing the sphere of stars to stand still. If the region of... more


Astronomical Letters
Brahe, Tycho (1596)

In this work, Tycho explained two problems posed for Copernicus by the absence of stellar parallax: 1. Due to the annual movement of the Earth around the Sun, one would expect to see stars appear to shift in position. This parallax evaded detection, even at Uraniborg. 2. Tycho reported precise... more


Commentary on the Sphere of Sacrobosco
Clavius, Christoph (1570)

Clavius taught mathematical astronomy in the Rome College (Collegio Romano), the leading Jesuit university in Rome. Aristotle did not emphasize mathematics, but Clavius’ lifelong work established mathematics and astronomy as essential areas of study for Jesuit schools. Clavius’ Commentary on... more


Complete Works
Brahe, Tycho (1648)

In De mundi aetherei (1588), Tycho reported that the comet of 1577 displayed no detectable parallax and thus moved, contrary to Aristotle, in the regions of the heavens beyond the Moon, passing through multiple celestial spheres. The ancient solid spheres melted. No longer were planets carried... more


Ecstatic Journey through the Heavens
Kircher, Athanasius (1660)

Six chief world systems were debated in Galileo’s world: • Ptolemaic: All planets revolve around the central Earth. Geocentric. • Platonic: Like the Ptolemaic, except switches the positions of Venus and Mercury. Geocentric. • Cappellan or Egyptian: Venus and Mercury revolve around the Sun.... more


Instruments for the Restoration of Astronomy
Brahe, Tycho (1602)

For two decades, Tycho and his assistants at Uraniborg produced thousands of astronomical observations of unprecedented quality. Tycho’s large-scale observing instruments, together with sophisticated new error correction techniques, increased observational precision by a factor of twenty. His... more


Principles of Astronomy
Naibod, Valentin (1580)

This Copernican cosmic section, the first published in Italy, appears in a sympathetic account, known to Tycho and to Kepler, which may have influenced Galileo. Naibod was a professor of mathematics at Padua who likely studied with Erasmus Reinhold in Wittenberg.


Sphere of the Universe
Biancani, Giuseppe (1620)

After Clavius, Jesuits tended to adopt Tycho’s system. Biancani’s Sphaera replaced Clavius as the standard introduction to astronomy in many Jesuit colleges. Biancani favored Tycho’s system, which preserved the mathematical elegance of Copernicus and accommodated the absence of stellar parallax... more


The New Almagest, part 2
Riccioli, Giambattista (1651)

The frontispiece of Riccioli’s treatise depicts not two, but three major systems of the world. The Ptolemaic system rests discarded (lower right corner) because of the phases of Venus and Mercury (upper left corner). All-seeing Argus looks on, holding a telescope. Urania weighs in a balance the... more


The Three Spheres
Beati, Gabriele (1662)

Which of Kircher’s six world systems are compatible with Beati’s cosmic section? Despite Galileo’s rhetorical attempt to cast cosmological debate as a choice between two chief world systems, Beati’s cosmic section is neither Ptolemaic nor Copernican. The solid spheres of Ptolemy and Copernicus... more


The Use of Celestial and Terrestrial Globes, and Spheres, according to the different Systems of the World
Bion, Nicolas (1710)

Even today, while we adopt the Copernican system, we still teach observational astronomy and navigation by the stars using the traditional geocentric instruments: nocturnal dials, celestial globes, and armillary spheres.


The World of Jupiter
Mayr, Simon (1614)

With a telescope, Mayr observed the four satellites of Jupiter, accurately determining their periods of revolution. He named them Europa, Io, Ganymede and Callisto, names which are still used today. In this work Mayr also considered Tycho’s objection to Copernicus based upon star sizes. The... more


Human Anatomy
Porta, Giambattista della (1637)

Della Porta applied the “doctrine of signatures” to humans and animals, exploring how the shape of someone’s head, ears, nose or some other external feature might reveal that person’s true, inner nature by how closely it resembles a particular animal. Stelluti later printed this Italian edition... more


Letters from Galileo to Prince Federigo Cesi
Galileo,  (1629?)

In these letters, Galileo thanked Cesi for his support of the Academy. Galileo quickly became the most illustrious member of the Lynx. Until Cesi’s death in 1630, he provided Galileo and other Lynx members with intellectual, financial and moral support.


Natural Magic, 1589
Porta, Giambattista della (1589)

In this poster-sized work, the first publication of observations made with a microscope, Cesi and Stelluti studied the anatomy of the bee. The text includes classical references to bees as well as new knowledge, integrated in a tabular outline. The title area shows four ancient coins depicting... more


Natural Magick, 1658
Porta, Giambattista della (1658)

In Natural Magick, della Porta described an optical tube he designed to make far things appear as though they were near. The field of optics was often associated with magical tricks and illusions, and for that reason sometimes held suspect among non-mathematicians. But della Porta’s magic was “... more


On Secret Writing
Porta, Giambattista della (1563)

Members of the Academy of the Lynx preferred to communicate with each other in code. Della Porta was the most accomplished cryptographer of the Renaissance. This work includes a set of movable cipher disks to code and decode messages. A cipher disk is a paper rotating wheel attached to the page... more


On the Transformations of the Atmosphere
Porta, Giambattista della (1610)

Della Porta dedicated several books to Cesi. Cesi underwrote publication of this book on meteorology, which includes wide-ranging discussions of water, earthquakes and meteorites. The title page displays Cesi’s coat of arms. Compare the crown on Cesi’s coat of arms with the crown on the emblem... more


Plant Anatomy
Porta, Giambattista della (1588)

Della Porta’s portrayal of a lynx on the title page of this and other works inspired Cesi with the name for his own Academy. Here, della Porta announced the existence of the Accademia Secretorum Naturae, an academy he founded in Naples cx. 1580 with the aim of discovering the secrets of nature.... more


Treatise on Fossil Mineral Wood
Stelluti, Francesco (1637)

The Academy of the Lynx emblem appears prominently on this title page. Although Stelluti once believed that fossils resembling wood originated from buried tree trunks, Cesi persuaded him otherwise. So in this work on petrified woods, Stelluti defended Cesi’s view that mineral forms represent a... more


Celebrated Questions on the Book of Genesis
Marsenne, Marin (1623)

Commentaries on Genesis often served as scientific treatises or encyclopedias. Mersenne, a French theologian, astronomer, music theorist and scientific correspondent, addressed a wide range of issues in cosmology in this commentary.


Commentary on the Book of Job
Zuniga, Diego de (1591)

Scientific results were often reported in theological works, as in this first defense of Copernicanism in Spain. In his commentary on Job 9:6 (misnumbered 9:5), Zuniga summarized evidence for Copernicanism from the precession of the equinoxes. He also argued that Copernicanism did not violate... more


Geneva Bible
,  (1560)

The Geneva Bible was the first lay study Bible, written in the vernacular, portable, affordable, and designed with cross-references and explanatory notes for self-study. It was the Bible of Shakespeare, of the Puritans, of settlers in the colonies of New England, and of Scotland. The popularity... more


Heights of Theology
Aquinas, Thomas (1496)

Wormholes appear on the cover of this otherwise well-preserved medieval masterwork of theology. Aquinas represents the medieval synthesis of science and religion. He endorsed the principle of accommodation. He affirmed the unity of truth and refuted apparent conflicts between philosophical truth... more


Illustrations of the Bible
Hoet, Gerard (1728)

Conventions of biblical illustration interacted with scientific investigation, each influencing and shaping the other. According to contemporary interpretations of the six days of creation, mountains formed on the 3rd day when the dry land was separated from the sea. In biblical illustrations,... more


King James Bible
,  (1611)

Numerous Scripture passages seemed to affirm the stability of the Earth and the mobility of the Sun, including Psalm 104:5. Would the principle of accommodation, as defended by Augustine, Aquinas or Calvin, imply that these passages should be interpreted with reference only to how nature appears... more


Observations on the Prophecies of Daniel
Newton, Isaac (1733)

For Newton, science and the Bible were not opposed, provided that one understood each one correctly. In this study of the apocalyptic book of Daniel, Newton affirmed that God’s dominion in history is shown by fulfilled prophecy, and that God will soon put an end to idolatry and restore authentic... more


On the Errors of the Trinity
Servetus, Michael (ca. 1700)

Servetus, an anatomist, astrologer, physician and polymath was an early proponent of the pulmonary circulation of the blood. In 1553, Servetus was burned at the stake in Geneva. Servetus was executed on account of his theological beliefs, particularly his denial of the Trinity and of the deity... more


Paradise Lost
Milton, John (1674)

Milton’s poem, an epic story of the world, recounts the creation and fall, the life of Christ, and the final consummation. Yet in the midst of these history-changing events, Milton found room to mention Galileo’s telescopic discoveries. He notes the roughness of the Moon, sunspots, and the... more


Progress and the Hunter’s Lamp of Logical Methods
Bruno, Giordano (1587)

In this work, Bruno advocated a technique for discovery through pure thought, influenced by the methodology of Raymond Lull. This volume also contains the first printing of Bruno’s Examination of Forms (1588).


The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended
Newton, Isaac (1728)

Newton believed that Solomon’s Temple encoded his inverse square law for universal gravitation. To Newton, his grandest achievement was merely a rediscovery of the treasures of ancient wisdom. Newton wrote more than a million words, both published and unpublished, on theology - more than any... more


The City of God
Augustine,  (1489)

The frontispiece shows Augustine in his study. Augustine taught that the language of Scripture was accommodated to the understanding of ordinary readers and therefore not well-suited to teach the theories of natural science. Galileo cited Augustine more than any other figure in his discussion of... more


The Reformed Heaven
Bruno, Giordano (1750)

This work contains a survey of the constellations and a cosmological dialogue, Lo Spaccio de la Bestia Trionfante (The Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast, 1584). Bruno, a Dominican astrologer and philosopher, affirmed that the universe is infinite, having no center. Distant stars have their own... more


Theory of the Earth, vol. 1
Burnet, Thomas (1684)

Thomas Burnet, a royal chaplain, classical scholar, and Cambridge Platonist, published Telluris theoria sacra in 1681. The famous frontispiece first appeared in this English edition. A circle of seven globes represents the Earth completing its journey through time. Three habitable worlds include... more


Theory of the Earth, vol. 2
Burnet, Thomas (1684)

Thomas Burnet, a royal chaplain, classical scholar, and Cambridge Platonist, published Telluris theoria sacra in 1681. The famous frontispiece first appeared in this English edition. A circle of seven globes represents the Earth completing its journey through time. Three habitable worlds include... more


Second Folio
Shakespeare,  (1632)

Planetary and stellar influences affect one’s physical temperament, so one must take steps not to catch the melancholic “influenza” of Saturn: “There’s some ill planet reigns: I must be patient till the heavens look With an aspect more favorable” (A Winter's Tale). Galileo cast horoscopes of... more


The Divine Comedy
Dante,  (1757)

Dante’s love for astronomy pervaded this epic poem. Not by accident did he bring each of the three volumes to a close with the word “stelle,” or star. The poem’s relentless rhythm, sustained for three volumes, comes to finality with a closing reference to “the love that moves the Sun and other... more


Workes, Chaucer
Chaucer,  (1598)

Chaucer’s astronomical knowledge, like Dante’s, was anything but casual; in addition to his stories, this volume also contains his detailed technical manual for use of the astrolabe. Chaucer’s treatise on the astrolabe is one of the titles produced at OU in the Variorum Chaucer series, edited by... more


Map of the Moon
Hevelius, Johann (1647)

Accurate depiction of the topography of the Moon was accomplished by mid-century in this lunar atlas by Hevelius. It set a new standard for precision that remained unmatched for a century. 40 stunning copper-plate engravings portray topographical relief along the Moon’s shadow-line, or... more


New Celestial and Terrestrial Observations
Fontana, Francesco (1646)

Inspired by Galileo, Fontana constructed his own telescope, improving the optics. Around 1629 he began a series of detailed sketches of the face of the Moon. A series of 28 copperplate engravings reveal the Moon’s surface as perceived on different dates, as well as a fold-out lunar map. 26... more


New Philosophy, about our World beneath the Moon
Gilbert, William (1651)

Gilbert, physician to Queen Elisabeth I, attempted to map the world of the Moon with the unaided eye, even before the telescope of Galileo. In antiquity, Plutarch had surmised the existence of land and ocean regions in the dark and light patches of the lunar surface. Gilbert agreed, naming the... more


The Moon
Nasmyth, James (1876)

Nasmyth, a Scottish engineer known for his invention of the steam hammer, combined an avid interest in astronomy and photography. Carpenter was an astronomer at the Greenwich Observatory. Together they constructed plaster models of the lunar surface. They photographed these models using raking... more


The Optics of the Eye
Chérubin d’ Orléans,  (1671)

In this illustration, Chérubin d’Orléans adopted the lunar map of Hevelius. The putti are observing the Moon with telescopes equipped with the “pantograph,” a perspectival tool devised by d’Orléans.


Cosmography, 1574
Munster, Sebastian (1574)

Munster’s Cosmography was one of the most popular books of the 16th century. In addition to the map of the world, it includes separate maps for America, Africa, Asia and Europe. First published in 1540, at least 24 editions were published in the following century. If geography is a prerequisite... more


On Animals
Aristotle,  (1476)

This is the first publication of Aristotle’s biological works. While Plato emphasized astronomy as the ennobling science, Aristotle insisted that biology, including the study of even the lowliest organisms, is beautiful to one who understands natural causes. Aristotle dissected the dogshark, and... more


Persius
Stelluti, Francesco (1630)

The title page of this classical study by Stelluti displays the emblem of the Lynx. The crest with three bees is that of the powerful Barberini family. In this work, Stelluti edited the poems of Persius, an obscure Roman poet, adding scholarly annotations on antiquarian, philological and... more


Pliny, “Natural History”
Pliny the Elder,  (1601)

Pliny’s Natural History defined the scope and breadth of the field of natural history. Natural history meant the description (or “historia”) of nature, as opposed to explaining its causes (or “natural philosophy”). Pliny died in 79 CE while investigating the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that buried... more


The Natural History of Plants, 1549
Theophrastus,  (1549)

What Aristotle did for animals, his student Theophrastus did for plants, making the study of plants an essential topic for ancient natural philosophers. Theophrastus sought not merely to describe the appearances of plants, but like his mentor Aristotle, to ascertain their causes. His work... more


Universal Geography
Ptolemy, Claudius (1545)

Although best known for his astronomy, Ptolemy (2nd century) brought the same mathematical methods to bear on various topics, including optics, geography, and astrology. This is the first printed edition of his geography, which established mathematical methods in cartography. In his map of the... more


A Description of the Plan of Peking, the Capital of China
Gaubil, Antoine (1748)

The Forbidden City was home to the Chinese Emperor and the political center of Chinese government for hundreds of years. Despite occasional tensions, Jesuits from Schall in the 17th century to Gaubil in the 18th century were granted admission as advisors.


Beijing: History and Description
Favier, Pierre-Marie-Alphonse (1897)

Photographs of the Beijing observatory show what remained of the astronomical instruments in 1897.


China, Illustrated with Many Monuments
Kircher, Athanasius (1670)

In one of Kircher’s images is of Matteo Ricci is pictured on the left, along with Xu Guangki (??? 1562-1633) on the right. Xu Guangki, a Chinese statesman and astronomer and director of the Astronomical Bureau in Beijing, called upon Schreck and Schall to reform the calendar and to undertake a... more


General History of China, vol. 1
du Halde, J.B. (1741)

Du Halde lived in China for nearly 30 years. This work recounts the story of Candida Xu, who collaborated with the Jesuit astronomers as had her grandfather, Xu Guangki. For a foldout map of China, du Halde drew upon the Kangxi atlases of 1717 and 1721. Around 1688, at the instigation of the... more


General History of China, vol. 3
du Halde, J.B.  (1741)

Du Halde lived in China for nearly 30 years. This work recounts the story of Candida Xu, who collaborated with the Jesuit astronomers as had her grandfather, Xu Guangki. For a foldout map of China, du Halde drew upon the Kangxi atlases of 1717 and 1721. Around 1688, at the instigation of the... more


General History of China, vol. 4
du Halde, J.B.  (1741)

Du Halde lived in China for nearly 30 years. This work recounts the story of Candida Xu, who collaborated with the Jesuit astronomers as had her grandfather, Xu Guangki. For a foldout map of China, du Halde drew upon the Kangxi atlases of 1717 and 1721. Around 1688, at the instigation of the... more


Historical Narration of the Origin and Progress of the Mission to China
Schall, Adam (1665)

This book is Schall’s account of the Jesuit mission in China after Ricci. Working closely with Chinese collaborators, Schall oversaw the publication of more than 30 scientific works in Chinese which drew upon Galileo, Copernicus, Tycho, Kepler and John Napier. Books included the first... more


History of that Great and Renowned Monarchy of China
Semedo, Alvaro (1655)

Semedo, a Jesuit who lived in China for more than 20 years, was the first European scholar to see and translate the Nestorian monument in Xian. This monument demonstrated the presence of Christians in China in the 7th century and helped to legitimize Christianity in the eyes of many Chinese as... more


Memoirs... made in a late Journey through the Empire of China
Comte, Louis le (1698)

Le Comte, a French Jesuit sent in 1687 by Louis XIV to work in the Kangxi court, depicted the Beijing observatory at the end of Schall’s life. Starting from the lower left and going clockwise, the astronomical instruments are the armillary sphere, azimuth horizon, quadrant, sextant, celestial... more


Monuments of China
Kircher, Athanasius (1667)

Back in Rome, Kircher collected all the information he could gather from Jesuits in China, publishing this massive encyclopedia on China, Tibet, India, Korea and Japan. It contains two notable early maps, numerous portraits, and an introduction to Sanskrit and Chinese characters. On the... more


On the Christian Expedition to China
Ricci, Matteo (1616)

This book recounts the establishment of the Jesuit mission in China in the late 1500s led by Matteo Ricci. When Ricci predicted a solar eclipse in 1592 with greater accuracy than the astronomers of the Chinese court, Emperor Wan-li invited Ricci to Beijing. In Beijing, Ricci translated Euclid... more


The Kingdom of China, before now called Cathay and Mangin
Cantelli, Giacomo (1682)

This map, based on Cantelli’s own reports as well as the surveys of Martini, influenced the larger Coronelli map also on display. Cantelli depicts relief and features like the Great Wall pictorially. Peking is clearly indicated. Korea is a peninsula, per Martini. Taiwan (Formosa) includes the... more


The Western and Eastern Parts of China divided into their Provinces
Coronelli, Vincenzo (1696)

European techniques of map-making, coupled with Chinese skill and knowledge, led to this two-sheet map by Coronelli. It clearly indicates the Great Wall, Beijing (Xuntien), Korea, and Taiwan. The westernmost part of Japan is also visible. Detailed cartouches depict the tools of the surveyor and... more


Wonderful Machines of the Far West
Schreck, Johann (1830)

Schreck helped Galileo show the telescope to the Medici family and others in Rome. Once he arrived in China, he wrote this work on engineering in Chinese. First printed in China as Qi qi tu shuo in 1627, this is the first edition printed in Japan, with Sino-Japanese notes and Japanese-style... more


An Astronomical Catechism
Whitwell, Catherine (1818)

This dialogue between a mother and her daughter offers a delightful introduction to the night sky. It contains 23 engraved plates drawn by Whitwell herself, including four hand-colored folding plates. One of the plates depicts the constellations of Corvus the Crow, Crater the Cup and Hydra the... more


Astronomical Poem
Hyginus,  (1485)

Greek writers compiled ancient stories of the constellations, often in poetic form, with memorable instructions for locating bright stars and zodiac constellations. Constellations of the zodiac contain the wandering courses of the planets and the annual path of the Sun. Familiarity with the... more


Atlas of the Starry Heavens
Littrow, Joseph J. von (1839)

Von Littrow, Director of the Vienna Observatory, adopted Bode’s constellation figures and star positions. In von Littrow’s atlas, the constellation figures appear faintly in the background.
After Bode’s monumental production, scientific star atlases became more specialized in scope, or... more


Celestial Atlas, 1729
Flamsteed, John (1729)

A globe maker for the French royal family, J. Fortin, prepared this edition of Flamsteed’s celestial atlas in a much reduced format. Flamsteed was the first Astronomer Royal, who oversaw the building of the Greenwich Observatory. Newton relied upon Flamsteed’s star positions in his Principia.... more


Celestial Globe Gores
Coronelli, Vincenzo (1693; reprint ca. 1800)

Coronelli, a Franciscan theologian and astronomer who worked in both Italy and France, was a founder of modern geography and an influential maker of celestial and terrestrial globes. Makers of globes printed sheets of map sections, called gores, which were then hand-colored, cut out and glued... more


Essays of the Members of the Academy of Gelati (1671)

This is the scarce first edition of writings by a leading learned society in Bologna, the Accademia dei Gelati. The volume includes striking woodcuts by the astronomer Geminiano Montanari of white stars against a black background. Montanari compares his observations of the Pleiades and Orion... more


Introduction to Astronomy, 1489
Abu Ma'shar,  (1489)

Abu Ma’shar, an astronomer in 9th century Baghdad, was one of the most prolific writers on astrology during the Middle Ages. This work was cited by Albert the Great, Roger Bacon, Pierre d’Ailly, and Pico della Mirandola, among others. Stars appear on the constellation figures in an... more


Map of the Heavens
Bode, Johann (1801)

This beautiful atlas fused artistic beauty and scientific precision. Bode, director of the Observatory of the Berlin Academy of Sciences, produced the last of the four major celestial atlases in which artful depictions of constellation figures appear alongside the most up-to-date scientific data... more


Measuring the Heavens
Bayer, Johann (1661)

In contrast to Piccolomini, who omitted constellation figures in favor of scientific accuracy, Bayer superimposed constellation figures upon the star maps without compromising positional accuracy. These figures were artfully drawn by Alexander Mair. By fusing science and art, merging true star... more


On the Fixed Stars
Piccolomini, Alessandro (1540)

In contrast to the constellation figures in Hyginus and Abu Ma’shar, Piccolomini created a star atlas, measuring the positions of the stars according to an indicated scale (specific to each plate). He designated stars by Roman letters (a, b, c, etc.) in order of apparent brightness. Piccolomini... more


On the New Star in the Foot of the Serpent Handler
Kepler, Johann (1606)

Kepler’s star map shows the constellations of Ophiuchus (the Serpent Handler), Sagittarius and Scorpius. The Milky Way runs diagonally down from the left, and the “ecliptic,” or annual path of the Sun, runs horizontally through Sagittarius and Scorpius. A triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn... more


On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, 1566
Copernicus, Nicolaus (1566)

Copernicus argued that the Sun rather than the Earth lies in the center of the universe. The Earth moves as a planet around the Sun, carrying its Moon along as a satellite. In 1543 little proof was available that the Earth moves; there were many reasons not to accept it. Ptolemaic astronomy was... more


Theater of Comets
Lubieniecki, Stanislaw (1666-68)

The search for comets, charged with astrological meaning, stimulated careful scrutiny and revision of maps of the stars. Lubieniecki collected an anthology of cometary reports, attempting to describe every known comet observed in Europe up to 1665. A comet which appeared in 1664-1665 prompted... more


Works, Ptolemy
Ptolemy,  (1541)

For this first edition of Ptolemy’s collected works, Johann Honter drew constellation figures after the manner of Albrecht Dürer. The figures appear in contemporary dress rather than in a classical style. Although positioned on a grid, unfortunately the coordinates were misaligned and... more


An Account of a New Discovered Motion of the Fix’d Stars
Bradley, James (1729)

Direct observational proof of the motion of the Earth remained difficult to find, even as late as the generation of Isaac Newton. The first direct observational evidence of the annual revolution of the Earth came in 1725 when James Bradley detected “stellar aberration,” a slight shifting in the... more


Commentary on Al-Qabisi
Al-Qabisi,  (1512)

This medieval introduction to astrology was frequently translated from Arabic into Latin. Al-Qabisi lived in the 10th century in Syria.


Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds
Fontenelle,  (1728)

In this dramatic and entertaining dialogue, Fontenelle explained Cartesian philosophy and cosmology and argued for the existence of life on other worlds. He justified a popular writing style by encouraging women and men to engage in pleasant evening conversation together on scientific topics.... more


Cosmography, 1585
Barozzi, Francesco (1585)

The illustrations in this cosmography show its indebtedness to the Sacrobosco tradition. Barozzi, a humanist scholar and mathematics professor at the University of Padua, provided an updated introduction to observational astronomy, intended as a replacement for Sacrobosco and Peurbach. Clavius... more


Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, 1687
Newton, Isaac (1687)

The Copernican idea that the Earth moves as a planet required a thorough revision of physics. Galileo undertook this task in his Discourse on Two New Sciences, published 80 years after Copernicus. With a mathematical description of the law of universal gravitation, Newton in this book unified... more


Newtonianism for Women
Algarotti, Francesco (1737)

Algarotti’s popular introduction to Newtonian science went through many editions and aided in the dissemination of Newtonian ideas on the European continent. It was dedicated to Fontenelle. Like Fontenelle’s Plurality of Worlds, it was written as an entertaining dialogue. This edition includes a... more


On the Magnet
Gilbert, William (1600)

Gilbert, a physician to Queen Elisabeth I, wrote the first experimental treatise devoted to magnetism. Gilbert discerned analogies between the Earth and magnets, and reasoned that the Earth itself is a magnet. The Earth’s magnetic field behaves in the same manner as a spherical magnet one may... more


On the Proper Motion of Fixed Stars
Bessel, Wilhelm

Scientific theories may be accepted on the basis of a weighing of many complex factors rather than a single determinative observation or crucial experiment. From antiquity, Copernicanism had been rejected due to a failure to observe stellar parallax. Eventually Copernicanism became accepted on... more


On the Sizes and Distances of the Sun and Moon
Samos, Aristarchus of (1572)

Aristarchus, the Copernicus of antiquity, proposed in the 3rd century B.C.E. that the Sun lies at the center of the universe and that the Earth and other planets revolve around the Sun. That work did not survive, but in this book Aristarchus demonstrated an ingenious method for calculating the... more


On the Sphere of the Universe
bar Hiyya, Abraham (1546)

Abraham bar Hiyya, also known as Savasorda, was a 12th century Jewish mathematician and astronomer in Barcelona. In this beautiful introduction to astronomy, bar Hiyya’s text appears in Hebrew alongside a Latin translation. “Islamic science” refers to science in a cosmopolitan culture that was... more


On the Sphere, 1511
Proclus,  (1511)

This work was attributed to Proclus (5th century), one of the most important Neoplatonic philosophers of late antiquity. It became one of the most popular introductions to astronomy during the Italian Renaissance, appearing in more than 70 16th-century editions.


Physical Demonstration of the Rotational Movement of the Earth
Foucault, Léon (1851)

The Foucault pendulum swings in a constant plane or direction, and thus reveals the rotation of the Earth turning underneath. The Foucault pendulum finally answered an often-voiced criticism of Copernicus (posed, for example, by Tycho and Riccioli), that a cannon ball fired northward should... more


Principles of Philosophy
Déscartes, René (1644)

In Descartes’ cosmology, each star lies at the center of a “vortex,” or gigantic pool of circulating fluid. Stars and vortices are mortal, passing into and out of existence. As a star like the Sun becomes encrusted with sunspots, it changes into a comet and wanders from vortex to vortex,... more


The Divine Plato
Plato,  (1491)

In his dialog entitled The Timaeus, Plato taught that the cosmos is constructed from regular geometrical figures known as the Pythagorean solids. Wherever one finds an emphasis upon mathematical demonstrations in science, one may credit Plato and the Pythagoreans. Alfred North Whitehead wrote... more


Works in Greek, vol 3 pt. A
Aristotle,  (1495-1498)

In a work entitled “On the Universe,” Aristotle argued that a 5th element, called ether or the quintessence, composes the celestial spheres that naturally rotate in place above the region where the four lower elements mix together beneath the Moon. The large, transparent, rotating spheres of... more


Works in Greek, vol 3 pt. B
Aristotle,  (1495-1498)

In a work entitled “On the Universe,” Aristotle argued that a 5th element, called ether or the quintessence, composes the celestial spheres that naturally rotate in place above the region where the four lower elements mix together beneath the Moon. The large, transparent, rotating spheres of... more


Works in Greek, vol. 1
Aristotle,  (1495-1498)

In a work entitled “On the Universe,” Aristotle argued that a 5th element, called ether or the quintessence, composes the celestial spheres that naturally rotate in place above the region where the four lower elements mix together beneath the Moon. The large, transparent, rotating spheres of... more


Works in Greek, vol. 2
Aristotle,  (1495-1498)

In a work entitled “On the Universe,” Aristotle argued that a 5th element, called ether or the quintessence, composes the celestial spheres that naturally rotate in place above the region where the four lower elements mix together beneath the Moon. The large, transparent, rotating spheres of... more


Works in Greek, vol. 4
Aristotle,  (1495-1498)

In a work entitled “On the Universe,” Aristotle argued that a 5th element, called ether or the quintessence, composes the celestial spheres that naturally rotate in place above the region where the four lower elements mix together beneath the Moon. The large, transparent, rotating spheres of... more


Works in Greek, vol. 5
Aristotle,  (1495-1498)

In a work entitled “On the Universe,” Aristotle argued that a 5th element, called ether or the quintessence, composes the celestial spheres that naturally rotate in place above the region where the four lower elements mix together beneath the Moon. The large, transparent, rotating spheres of... more


A Discovery of a New World... in the Moon
Wilkins, John (1684)

In this book, first published in 1638, Wilkins defended the Copernican and Galilean idea that the Earth is a planet by establishing analogies with the Moon. Following Galileo, Wilkins argued that if the Moon moves through the heavens and yet bears similarities with the Earth, such as mountains... more


A Prognostication Everlasting of Right Good Effect
Digges, Leonard (1605)

This sun-centered cosmic section representes the first published defense of Copernicus in England, printed in a work of meteorology.


A Treatise on Muscular Action
Pugh, John (1794)

This book demonstrated the advantage of exercise training and physical therapy in promoting health. Pugh invented exercise apparatus to strengthen the muscles. The 30 plates, engraved by artist Thomas Kirk, aimed to depict the living body in active motion: “that appearance of life, action,... more


Admonition to Astronomers
Kepler, Johann (1630)

The Rudolpine Tables were not a best seller. Three years later, Kepler and his son-in-law Jacob Bartsch published this little extract to stir up interest in the Rudolphine Tables and boost sales. It contains predictions of the transits of Mercury and Venus across the disk of the Sun in 1631.


Astronomical Journal
Brahe, Tycho (1586)

On the Island of Hven, Tycho Brahe built a Renaissance research center called Uraniborg, “City of the Stars.” The first book printed on Tycho’s printing press at Uraniborg displays his motto, “looking up, I look down.” That motto symbolized his aim of coordinating the study of astronomy,... more


Considerations on Galileo's Discourse on Floating Bodies
Pannochieschi, Arturo (1612)

Pannochieschi, head of the University of Pisa, defended Columbe, widening the debate over floating bodies and exemplifying the Aristotelian physicists’ reaction to Galileo’s use of Archimedean methods. In response, Galileo published a 2d ed. of his Discourse on Floating Bodies within the same... more


Conversation on Galileo’s Starry Messenger
Kepler, Johann (1611)

“I thank you because you were the first one, and practically the only one, to have complete faith in my assertions.” – Galileo In this public letter, Kepler expressed support for Galileo’s telescopic discoveries. He also considered whether the Moon and Jupiter are inhabited, and he supposed that... more


Curious Technology
Schott, Gaspar (1664)

Schott was among the first to report the “Miracle of Magdeburg,” the sensational story of Otto von Guericke’s public demonstration of the reality of the vacuum. Von Guericke bolted two large hemispheres together, then evacuated the air inside them with his air pump. The sphere was attached to... more


Demonstration of the Halo
Reinhold, Erasmus (c. 1550)

This manuscript contains two transcriptions of a university lecture by Erasmus Reinhold. The diagrams are nearly identical to Aristotle’s discussion of halos in the Meteorology. Reinhold was a well-known Wittenberg astronomer, sympathetic to Copernicus. The migration of this diagram from... more


Discourse on Floating Bodies
Galileo,  (1612)

To provide entertainment at a dinner held by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Galileo debated the Aristotelian physicist Lodovico delle Columbe on the topic of floating bodies. Galileo employed Archimedes’ mathematical analysis. Columbe, untrained in mathematics, relied upon Aristotle’s qualitative... more


Defense Against the Calumnies and Impostures of Baldessar Capra!
Galileo,  (1607)

Featuring Galileo's Handwriting. Galileo published his second printed book to establish his priority rights and to inform Cosimo de Medici of the legal judgment against Capra. This copy, bound with the Compasso, is inscribed by Galileo to a Florentine physician. It contains... more


Discourse on Two New Sciences, vol. 2
Galileo,  (1656)

In this masterwork of physics, Galileo studied the two sciences of tensile strength and motion. The science of tensile strength considers how larger objects must bear more and more weight to perform the same action. Coach Galileo might say that a smaller player may be more agile; eventually, a... more


Dissection of the Head of a Shark
Steno, Niels (1667)

In an appendix to an anatomical work, written for Ferdinand Medici II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, Steno recounted his dissection of the head of a shark that recently had washed ashore. His anatomical analysis suggested that the well-known glossopetrae, or “tongue-stones,” were fossilized shark’s... more


Essays on Natural Experiences, 1666
Accademia del Cimento,  (1666)

The Academy of the Lynx (Accademia dei Lincei) dissolved after the death of its founder, Prince Federigo Cesi. In its place, Grand Duke Ferdinand II established the Academy of Experiment in Florence, which carried further the research program of Galileo. Devoted to collaborative observation and... more


Essays on Natural Experiences, 1667
Accademia del Cimento,  (1667)

The Academy transformed the thermoscope into the thermometer by adding a graduated scale (which had been done by Galileo and his friends) and by sealing the tube to make it independent of air pressure.


Essays on Natural Experiences, 1701
Accademia del Cimento,  (1701)

The Academy crafted a hygrometer to measure humidity in the air. They improved the barometer, and conducted many experiments with air pressure. The Academy also experimented with light and phosphorescence, radiant heat, the velocity of sound and many other topics.


Flowers, or, On the Cultivation of Flower Gardens, 1638
Ferrari, Giovanni Battista (1638)

The Latin edition of this work mentioned the Lincean explorer, or microscope. This Italian translation of Ferrari’s work on flower gardens, published after Galileo’s trial in 1633, expunged any mention of the Academy of the Lynx. Ferrari, a professor at the Rome College (Collegio Romano), became... more


Forecasts
Paracelsus,  (1536)

Woodcuts adorn the top of each page in this “astro-meteorology,” a fusion of meteorology, astronomy, chemistry and medicine containing forecasts for the next 24 years. For Paracelsus, chemistry was more than a tool, it was a philosophy, a divine calling and a way of life: the “chymical... more


Letters
Kepler, Johann (1672 & 1673)

Kepler’s major correspondence is gathered here in two rare volumes bound together. Bernegger, one of Kepler’s closest friends, also published Latin translations of Galileo’s Compass, Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina, and Dialogue on the Two Chief Systems of the World. Shickard built a... more


Meteorological Essays
Dalton, John (1793)

Dalton defined the law of partial pressures in the course of his meteorological research. Three years later, his New System of Chemical Philosophy (Manchester, 1808) presented his atomic theory and provided a way to calculate the relative weights of elements and compounds.


Meteorology, 1506
D’Ailly, Pierre (1506)

This commentary on Aristotle’s meteorology contains numerous contemporary annotations and drawings (not yet studied). D’Ailly was a theologian, mathematician, astronomer, and cosmographer who helped the medieval church heal the schism of three rival popes. Another of his books encouraged... more


Meteorology, 1556
Aristotle,  (1556)

In a discussion of optical effects of the atmosphere, Aristotle here addresses the formation of a halo around the Moon. This is one of the most interesting uses of mathematics in all of Aristotle’s writings. Aristotle defined the subject of meteorology as everything that takes place beneath the... more


Natural Questions
Seneca,  (1522)

Seneca’s Natural Questions covered a similar scope of subject matter as Aristotle’s Meteorology. Seneca differed from Aristotle by insisting that even sublunar phenomena follow the same natural laws and have the same intelligibility as the rest of the universe. “If I had not been admitted to... more


New Experiments
von Guericke, Otto (1672)

In this work, von Guericke explained the design of his air pump and recounted additional experiments conducted with it. He employed the barometer to forecast the weather, and invented an electrostatic generator.


New Experiments Physico-Mechanicall, Touching the Spring of the Air
Boyle, Robert (1660)

Boyle, who heard of von Guericke’s experiments via Schott, retained Robert Hooke to construct a similar air pump for him. Boyle’s experiments supported his “corpuscular” view of matter, that air is comprised of particles in motion. For Boyle, air behaves as if it were made of springs, increasing... more


On Bees
Stelluti, Francesco (1625)

In this poster-sized work, the first publication of observations made with a microscope, Cesi and Stelluti studied the anatomy of the bee. The text includes classical references to bees as well as new knowledge, integrated in a tabular outline. The title area shows four ancient coins depicting... more


On Meteorology
Descartes, René (1637)

This essay on meteorology contains Descartes’ explanation of the optics of the rainbow and his law of refraction. Descartes’ ambitious aim was to produce a new body of writings that would completely displace the Aristotelian corpus. Against Aristotle, but like Seneca, he argued that even in... more


On Microscopy
Hooke, Robert (1665)

Hooke’s Micrographia is the most remarkable visual treatise of 17th century microscopy. In describing the appearance of cork, Hooke coined the term “cell.” Hooke’s large fold-out plate of the flea is unforgettable. In another fold-out plate, the rod-like strand of hair is the give-away that the... more


On the Equations of the Relative Movement of Systems of Bodies
Coriolis, Gaspard-Gustave de  (1835)

Coriolis explicitly analyzed rotating systems such as a waterwheel, but his conclusions apply to the atmosphere and the rotation of the Earth. Galileo’s principle of the relativity of motion depends upon an analogy between the Earth sailing through space and a ship at sea. A moving object on a... more


On the Fabric of the Human Body, 1545
Vesalius, Andreas (1545)

This book is without doubt the most handsome anatomical work of the 16th century. Vesalius was fortunate to team up with Jan Stephan van Calcar, a world class artist. Even the human skeletons reveal an aesthetic appreciation of the human body. This book illustrates the convergence of art and... more


On the Motion of Animals, 1685
Borelli, Giovanni (1685)

This work of sports medicine analyzes the physics of bones and muscles. Borelli, a practicing mathematician and engineer as well as a physician, analyzed the musculoskeletal system in terms of the mechanics of the lever and other simple machines. Borelli studied under Galileo’s student Benedetto... more


On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, 1617
Copernicus, Nicolaus (1617)

In De revolutionibus, Copernicus placed the Sun in the center of the universe and set the Earth in annual motion around the Sun. This is the 3d edition, printed in 1617, the year after the Inquisition stimulated fresh interest in the work by placing it on the Index of Prohibited Books. The OU... more


On the Snowflake, or the Six-Angled Crystal
Kepler, Johann (1611)

Kepler’s contributions reached far beyond the realm of astronomy, to meteorology, mathematics, geology, mineralogy and crystallography. Kepler published this 24-page pamphlet, a study of the snowflake, as a New Year’s greeting for a friend. Kepler distinguished the way organisms grow, by... more


On the Tornado
Boscovich, Ruder (1749)

Boscovic, a Jesuit mathematical physicist from the region of modern-day Croatia, published this account of a tornado that passed through Rome in June of 1749. Benjamin Franklin’s reading of this book prompted his own tornado investigations, including storm chasing.


Opticks
Newton, Isaac (1704)

Newton’s contemporaries may have first heard of him through articles in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. There he reported his experiments with prisms on the nature of light and color in the atmosphere. And there he announced his invention of what we now call the “... more


Optics of Lenses
Kepler, Johann (1611)

Kepler wrote an earlier work on optics (1604) as a supplement to the medieval treatise of Witelo. In this sequel, he clarified the optics of refractive lenses and greatly advanced understanding of how the telescope actually works. The annotations in this copy are unstudied.


Phosphorescent Rock, or, On the Light of the Bolognese Stone
Liceti, Fortunio (1640)

Galileo studied the “Stone of Bologna” or “solar sponge,” produced by alchemists from calcining spar (barium sulfide), which glows in the dark. Galileo inferred from its cool luminescence that light is not the same as heat, but a distinct entity, contra Aristotle. In this book the philosopher... more


Response to the Opposition of Lodovico delle Colombe
Galileo,  (1615)

Some of Galileo’s most avid opponents were Aristotelian physicists who, lacking training in mathematics, were unable to refute Galileo’s arguments. This book, which Galileo published under the name of his student Castelli, refuted the Aristotelian physics of Colombe and Pannochieschi and... more


Secrets of Nature
van Leeuwenhoek, Antonio (1695)

Many textbooks begin their list of early microscopists with Leeuwenhoek, who published most of his discoveries in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. This volume is an anthology of many of those articles. Leeuwenhoek’s microscope had only a single, powerful lens. He... more


The Art of Gymnastics
Mercuriale, Girolamo (1577)

What sports did they play in ancient Greece and Rome? This book by a leading physician of the Renaissance attempts to answer that question. Mercuriale once recommended Galileo for a university position.


The Atmosphere: Popular Meteorology
Flammarion, Camille (1888)

Meteorology is a quest of discovery, the challenge of boldly exploring where no one has gone before. That is the appeal and rhetorically durable theme which has made this woodcut so appealing. Many who have reprinted this illustration through the years have not recognized that it first appeared... more


The Book of Meteorology
Paracelsus,  (1566)

Paracelsus in this book attacked Aristotelian philosophy, arguing that an experimental understanding of chemical processes would hold the key to advances in meteorology.


The Book on Air
Hero of Alexandria,  (1575)

Once an altar is lighted, the temple doors open automatically. Hero fashioned all sorts of marvelous automata using steam, air pressure, hydraulics and falling weights. Devices included an automatic wine dispenser, siphons, garden fountains, engines, pumps, steam-powered toys, and magic tricks.... more


The Caterpillar Garden
Merian, Maria Sybilla (1717)

Merian, an artist and naturalist, studied the relationships between flowers and insects; she also bred her own insects for this purpose. She was particularly interested in metamorphosis. The citizens of Amsterdam sponsored Merian’s research expedition to South America, accompanied by her... more


The Courtier
Castiglione, Baldassarre (1724)

To move up in the world, Galileo and other members of his generation sought positions at court. To help them know what to expect, Castiglione wrote the standard manual for court etiquette, how to please your supervisor. Coach Galileo would say, pay attention to Castiglione. OU Libraries also... more


The Elements of Euclid
,  (1847)

Color-coded, graphical proofs occur in this masterpiece of visual presentation and design. Text is dramatically reduced in favor of a strategy of visual thinking. Byrne’s full title reads: The First Six Books of the Elements of Euclid in which coloured diagrams and symbols are used instead of... more


The Generous Muse of the Heavens
Cunitz, Maria (1650)

Prior to Newton, fewer than half a dozen astronomers accepted Kepler’s three laws. Galileo was typical in ignoring everything Kepler did. Yet this beautiful book is an exception: it clearly demonstrated that Kepler’s laws were more accurate than anything that had come before. It was written by... more


The New Astronomy
Kepler, Johann (1609)

This is Kepler’s famous pretzel diagram, where he focused attention on the planet rather than the rotating solid sphere which carried the planet. In an Earth-centered system, the planet must follow some kind of similar pretzel path as it is carried along within a thick solid sphere. By analyzing... more


The New Micrographia
Griendel, Johann Francisco (1687)

Griendel’s Micrographia nova was the German counterpart to Hooke’s Micrographia (1665). Greindel improved the objective lens. Many of his illustrations are of the same creatures examined by Hooke.


The Origin of Continents and Oceans
Wegener, Alfred (1924)

This page reflects Wegener’s interest in temperature fluctuations and patterns of glaciation. The theory of continental drift developed from Wegener’s researches in Greenland as a meteorologist with an interest in polar climate. The interdisciplinary character of the theory required a synthetic... more


The Rudolphine Tables
Kepler, Johann (1627)

From his new astronomy, using Tycho’s observations, Kepler calculated these tables of the positions of the Sun, Moon and planets. Kepler adopted John Napier’s recently invented computational method of logarithms, published in 1614. Although Kepler’s tables were assumed by many to be more... more


Theater of the World
Gallucci, Giovanni Paolo (1588)

Gallucci, a Venetian scholar, was interested in astronomical instruments, both physical and on paper. The “Theater of the World” features a parade of rotating wheels, or “volvelles,” descendants of the astrolabe. These were paper instruments used to predict the positions of the Sun, Moon,... more


Treatise on Painting
da Vinci, Leonardo (1716)

Despite a lack of publications, Leonardo’s fame grew as word of his notebooks spread. The first work by Leonardo to be printed was his Treatise on Painting, published a century after his death. That 1651 Italian edition is on display at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Spring 2016. The... more


Treatise on the Equilibrium of Fluids
Pascal, Blaise (1663)

To clarify the ability of the barometer to measure the pressure of the atmosphere, Pascal left a barometer at a low elevation in the town of Clermont, in Auvergne, while taking another with him as he climbed the Puy-de-Dôme. The barometric pressure diminished with elevation, as a measure of the... more


Treatise on the Genuine Use of the Globes
Metius, Adriaan (1624)

Although Galileo rushed to print his telescopic observations, he did not invent the telescope. Jacob Metius was one of several Dutchmen with a claim to the invention of the telescope. This book by Jacob’s brother mentions Jacob’s telescopic observations of the satellites of Jupiter.


Wonder Chambers of Nature
Vincent, Levinus (1706-1715)

Levinus Vincent, a wealthy Dutch merchant with ties to the East Indies, created a spectacular natural history museum in Haarlem. Visiting dignitaries admired his museum, including Peter the Great and King Charles III of Spain. The detailed depictions of interior spaces include figures of women... more


Tornadoes: What they are and how to observe them
Finley, John P. (1887)

This is the first book written in English devoted to tornados. Finley served in the US Army Signal Service, which was tasked with weather forecasting in 1870. Finley’s study of tornados led him to issue unofficial tornado forecasts. The OU copy is signed by the author and a gift of Edwin Kessler... more


Tornadoes: What they are and how to observe them
Finley, John P. (1887)

This is the first book written in English devoted to tornados. Finley served in the US Army Signal Service, which was tasked with weather forecasting in 1870. Finley’s study of tornados led him to issue unofficial tornado forecasts.


Avicenna's Canon of Medicine
Sina, Ibn (1608)

University medical textbook: Ibn Sina’s Canon of Medicine became a standard medical text in European universities. Ibn Sina, or “Avicenna” as he became known in Europe, flourished around 1000. At the bottom of the frontispiece, the center vignette ranks Ibn Sina among the four greatest ancient... more


Subterranean World
Kircher, Athanasius (1665)

This is one of two richly-embellished global sections which depict Kircher’s vision of interlaced systems of air, fire, and water around and within the Earth. They suggest the kinds of interrelationships one might suppose between the Earth and atmosphere to explain the phenomena observed in the... more


Galileo shows the satellites of Jupiter to the Venetian Senators
Figuier, Louis (1870)

Galileo offered first-hand telescopic demonstrations to influential colleagues and supporters across Venice and Tuscany. In early 1611, Galileo visited Rome, invited by Clavius and the Jesuits. Jesuit astronomers of the Rome College (Collegio Romano) looked through Galileo’s telescopes and... more


On the Sphere
Sacro Bosco, Joannes de (1490)

In University study from the 13th through 16th centuries, the most common introduction to the geocentric cosmos was the medieval work, On the Sphere, by Sacrobosco. In one illustration, the Sun revolves around the Earth following an off-center or “eccentric” path within its solid celestial... more


Abacus model

The abacus, an ancient calculating machine, is still in use around the world. Counters consisting of pebbles in the sand, beads on a wire or knots on a string are shifted back and forth on each level to represent different quantities, such as units and tens.


Antonio van Leeuwenhoek Microscope replica (2015)

The Boerhaave Museum holds several of Leeuwenhoek’s original microscopes, from which this replica was created.


Apple Computer  (1984)

The original 256K Macintosh computer was the first consumer-marketed personal computer to support mouse input and a windows-based graphical user interface.


Astrolabe replica (2015)

The astrolabe, one of the fundamental instruments for observational astronomy, consists of three major parts: the mater, the underlying disk; the climate, a removable disk adjusted for latitude; and the rete, a ring marked with star positions. The removable climate disk in this astrolabe... more


Demonstration Slide Rule

The slide rule is based on logarithms. With a slide rule, one may quickly and reliably calculate to a precision of about 3 digits. Until the pocket calculator became available in the mid-1970‘s, slide rules were in constant use by scientists and engineers. For example, slide rules were used by... more


Galileo Compass replica

Galileo’s engineering compass employed scales of his own innovative design, useful for an astonishing variety of calculations in the field. One might use it to calculate the height of a tower; to lay out military fortifications; or to aim a cannon at the correct angle to achieve a target... more


Galileo Telescope replica ( )

The optics, leather and gold tooling of the telescope suggest how scientific instruments were crafted with a combination of engineering expertise and bookbinding arts. Galileo’s telescope included two lenses, an ocular lens near the eye, and an objective lens at the far end of the tube. The... more


Galileo Thermoscope replica, Bizzell Memorial Library

Galileo’s thermoscope, ancestor to the thermometer: Galileo pioneered scientific investigations with the thermoscope along with his two Paduan friends, Giovanni Sagredo and Santorio Santorio. Sagredo used a thermoscope to refute the common belief that well water is warmer in the winter than the... more


Galileo Thermoscope replica, National Weather Center

Galileo’s thermoscope, ancestor to the thermometer: Galileo pioneered scientific investigations with the thermoscope along with his two Paduan friends, Giovanni Sagredo and Santorio Santorio. Sagredo used a thermoscope to refute the common belief that well water is warmer in the winter than the... more


Giuseppe Campani Microscope replica

This is a replica of a microscope that is very much like one of the microscopes Galileo might have created. Indeed, it was once believed to have been made by Galileo, but is now attributed to Campani.


Complex Armillary Sphere replica

An armillary sphere is a spherical astrolabe, showing the great circles in their unflattened orientation: The great circle of the ecliptic (the path of the Sun) is marked off in degrees of celestial longitude and in the 12 signs of the Zodiac. The great circle of the celestial equator is marked... more


Nocturnal Dial replica (2006)

Nocturnal dials tell time by the stars. This instrument replicates an original nocturnal dial created by Girolano della Volpaia in Florence in 1569, held in the Museo Galileo in Florence. It consists of three superimposed brass disks: an outermost disk of days, divided in 360 degrees, with... more


Sextant replica

An astronomer might use a sextant or quadrant to measure the distance between a planet and a notable bright star, or the altitude of a star above the horizon. A quadrant measures up to 90 degree angular separation (one fourth or quadrant of a circle), while a sextant measures up to 60 degree (... more


Sundial replica (2015)

A sundial consists of a gnomon, which casts the Sun’s shadow, and a dial on which the shadow indicates the time. This simple portable sundial features a gnomon that can be adjusted according to one’s latitude. Sundials have ranged in size from pocket-dials to monumental architecture. Obelisks of... more


Galileo Thermoscope replica, Bird Health Sciences Library

Galileo’s thermoscope, developed in the context of pneumatic engineering, was an ancestor to the thermometer. Galileo pioneered scientific investigations with the thermoscope along with his two Paduan friends, Giovanni Sagredo and Santorio Santorio. Santorio affixed measuring units to the glass... more


Delamarche Orrery

An orrery, also called a planetarium, shows the choreography of planets as they dance with coordinated precision around the Sun. From antiquity, geocentric (Earth-centered) models of the moving planets were constructed, such as the Antikythera device and large mechanical clocks. This... more


Polyhedral Sundial replica

This is a replica of an original polyhedral sundial created by Stefano Buonsignori in Florence in 1587, held in the Museo Galileo in Florence.


The New Almagest, part 1
Riccioli, Giambattista (1651)

The frontispiece of Riccioli’s treatise depicts not two, but three major systems of the world. The Ptolemaic system rests discarded (lower right corner) because of the phases of Venus and Mercury (upper left corner). All-seeing Argus looks on, holding a telescope. Urania weighs in a balance the... more


Discourse on Two New Sciences
Galileo,   (1638)

Under house arrest after his trial, Galileo turned his attention to a number of topics that had long interested him. This is his masterwork of physics, the last book of Galileo’s to be published in his lifetime. These two sciences concern tensile strength and motion. The science of motion... more


Discourse on Two New Sciences, vol. 1
Galileo,  (1656)

In this masterwork of physics, Galileo studied the two sciences of tensile strength and motion. The science of tensile strength considers how larger objects must bear more and more weight to perform the same action. Coach Galileo might say that a smaller player may be more agile; eventually, a... more


Ethiopian Bible

Augustine served as the Bishop of Hippo in the Roman province of Africa, or present-day Algeria. The formative influence of northern Africa upon later European culture was both immense and diverse. This intellectual influence is evident for the history of science in figures as diverse as Hero,... more


Chronicle of Mathematics
Baldi, Bernardino

Bernardino Baldi was an Italian mathematician whose work gives insight into the milieu of Galileo. This is one of two autograph manuscripts by Baldi held by the Collections. It is a chronological history of mathematics starting from 600 B.C.E., which mentions many Islamic figures as well as... more


The Firmament of King Sobiesci, or Map of the Heavens
Hevelius, Johann (1690)

The Uranographia of Hevelius, the most detailed and influential celestial atlas of the 17th century, contains 54 beautiful double-page engraved plates of 73 constellations, and 2 oversized folding plates of planispheres. Unique among the major star atlases, Hevelius depicted the star patterns as... more


Biblical Sciences
Scheuchzer, Johann Jakob (1728)

Biblical accounts of the creation week, deluge, and future conflagration provided early modern naturalists with an idiom for exploring changes in the Earth over time. Scheuchzer was a leading Swiss naturalist and an advocate for the organic origin of fossils. In this popular natural history... more


Urania's Mirror with A Familiar Treatise on Astronomy
Aspin, Jehoshaphat (1825)

Constellation figures remained popular in education, as in these constellation cards which make learning the constellations easy. The set includes 32 cards, each focused upon one or a few constellations. Holes punched in the positions of major stars allow one to hold any card up to a light and... more


A Geographical Map of the Terraqueous Globe
Scherer, Heinrich (1700)

These are gores for a small geographical "pocket" globe.


Preliminary Discourse for Astronomy
Hevelius, Johann (1690)

In the Prodromus, Hevelius explained the instruments and methods used to produce the star catalog. Hevelius’ Gdansk observatory, “Stellaburg,” was the best in Europe until the later national observatories of France and Britain. Inspired by Tycho Brahe, he constructed large precision observing... more


The Centenary of General Relativity, misc. items
Einstein, Albert (1915-2015)

The 2015-2016 year is the centenary of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Einstein attributed the formulation of the principle of the relativity of motion to Galileo. Einstein published a formal synopsis of the General Theory in Annalen der Physik in May 1916, entitled “Die Grundlage der... more


On Conic Sections
Apollonius,  (1710)

Apollonius (3rd century B.C.E.) examined the properties of conic sections; namely, the: • circle (cuts a cone horizontally, perpendicularly to the axis of the cone) • ellipse (cuts a cone to make a closed curve) • parabola (cuts a cone parallel to a side of the cone) • hyperbola (cuts a cone in... more


The Great Art of Light and Shadow
Kircher, Athanasius (1646)

A “camera obscura” (“dark room”) consists of a box or container in which light enters via a small hole and projects an image on an opposite wall. The image will be reversed and upside-down, but its proportions will be preserved. In his Optics, Euclid cited the camera obscura as evidence that... more


100 Tales
Boccaccio, Giovanni (1925)

Eyewitness to Black Plague: In the opening section, the Florentine writer Boccaccio (1313-1375) recounted his observations of the plague. According to Boccaccio, most people died within about three days of the appearance of tumors. Due to the quantity of dead bodies, churches abandoned the... more


Chinese lion, George and Cecilia McGhee Collection

This Chinese lion is know as a Shi, or an imperial guardian lion. It was a symbol of protection and often placed in front of tombs, palaces, temples, and important homes


Yin-Yang medallion (1960)

Yin and yang, a recurring motif in traditional Chinese thought, express the idea of the interconnectedness of opposites. Phenomena which appear as dualities to us, such as darkness and light, or high and low tides, will turn out to be interdependent and profoundly related. Decorative screen by... more


Robert Bellarmine, portrait
Robert, Bellarmine

Robert Bellarmine was a prominent Jesuit theologian at the time of Galileo. Before several remarkable novas appeared, and 40 years before Galileo’s evidence of sunspots, Bellarmine had already come to believe on the basis of biblical authority that the heavens are not eternal but corruptible.... more


Physical Demonstration of the Rotational Movement of the Earth
Foucault, Léon (1851)

The Foucault pendulum swings in a constant plane or direction, and thus reveals the rotation of the Earth turning underneath. The Foucault pendulum finally answered an often-voiced criticism of Copernicus (posed, for example, by Tycho and Riccioli), that a cannon ball fired northward should... more


Church of Santa Croce, Florence

After his trial, Galileo remained under house arrest until his death on Jan 8, 1642. His will directed that his remains should be placed beside those of his father Vincenzo in the Church of Santa Croce. To avoid attracting too much attention from Rome, Galileo’s remains were laid to rest in an... more