Archive: "History of Science" Category

New Acquisitions in Renaissance printing

The L. Tom Perry Special Collections has a long history of collecting the output of the major French humanist printers of the 16th century. Our vaults hold extensive collections of the work of the Estienne (Stephanus) family, Simon de Colines, Josse Badius Ascencius, and Christophe Plantin. These printers helped spread Renaissance and humanist learning throughout …

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Johannes Kepler at 450

During late 2021, libraries, museums and universities around the world celebrated the 450th anniversary of the birth of astronomer Johannes Kepler. Kepler was born December 27, 1571 near Stuttgart in modern Germany. Kepler is best known today for his three laws of planetary motion, developed from years of studying the motion of the planet Mars. …

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Darwin’s Descent of Man

On this day 150 years ago, 24 February 1871, Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex was published by John Murray. On the Origin of Species had appeared 12 years earlier, introducing Darwin’s theory of evolution; with The Descent of Man, Darwin took the theory to its next logical conclusion …

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John Gerard’s English herbal

The Lee Library recently digitized a well-known book of early modern English science: the 1633 edition of John Gerard’s Herball, or Generall historie of plantes (online at https://archive.org/details/herballorgeneral1633gera). Gerard was a surgeon and herbalist who curated the Royal College of Physicians’ garden of medicinal plants. He first published his herbal, which is a type of …

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Comets of the 17th century

L. Tom Perry Special Collections contains a variety of comet pamphlets by European astronomers of the 16th and 17th centuries. If you enjoyed (or missed) comet NEOWISE this summer, we’d like to share some delightful woodcut illustrations from recent acquisitions to this collection. This engraving, from Erhard Weigel’s Speculum Uranicum aquilae Romanae sacrum (1661), depicts …

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Curious Remedies: The Art of Dissection

Curious Remedies, the library’s current main floor exhibit, highlights the contributions of scientists and physicians of the Renaissance and Early Modern periods. One such individual is Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564), whose monumental book on anatomy, De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body, often shortened to Fabrica) was first published in 1543. Vesalius …

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Historic solar eclipses

Here in Provo, Utah, people are gearing up for the solar eclipse which will be visible in our area on August 21. To add to the festivities, we’ve pulled out a few books (both scientific and literary) about eclipses of past centuries. This small pamphlet was published by astronomer Johann Erich Müller in Greifswald, Germany, …

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Robert Hooke and the Microscope

Today marks the birth of English scientist Robert Hooke in 1635. Hooke dabbled in many branches of the arts and sciences, including astronomy, physics, watchmaking, and architecture. He was a member of the Royal Society and served as its curator of experiments, which meant that he demonstrated several experiments at each of the Society’s meetings …

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Women’s Book History for Women’s History Month

If you visit the “Curious Remedies” exhibit this month, be on the lookout for a small, nondescript book of medicine by Nicholas Culpeper. This item was published in 1684 by Hannah Sawbridge. Hannah was the widow of George Sawbridge, one of the most successful London printers and booksellers of the 17th century. Sawbridge’s firm printed …

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Curious Remedies: The Making of Early Modern Medicine

The Lee Library’s current exhibit, “Curious Remedies: Medicine During the Renaissance,” highlights medical knowledge of the Renaissance and Early Modern period with books from Special Collections. Before chemical engineering or even the discovery of penicillin, physicians relied on plants, minerals, and animals to concoct medicines for their patients. Botanical encyclopedias called herbals helped scientists identify …

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