Archive: "History of Science" Category

Athanasius Kircher and his Cabinet of Curiosities

In Early Modern Europe, well-connected individuals with the collecting bug assembled eclectic collections of natural and man-made objects known as kunstkammer or cabinets of curiosities. These collections could be small enough to fill a bookcase or large enough to fill an exhibit hall. One prominent collector of the 17th century was Jesuit Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680), …

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New acquisitions: astronomy around the world

Special Collections has a small but significant collection of rare Japanese books and manuscripts, and we periodically add to it. One of our most recent acquisitions is a 1796 treatise on Western science, “Oranda tensetsu,” or Dutch Astronomy Explained.  It is one of several books published by Japanese printmaker Shiba Kōkan which discuss European science …

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From the Vaults: Copernicus

Listen to HBLL librarians Tom Stephens and Maggie Kopp talk about the significance of Nicolaus Copernicus and the transmission of his famous book De Revolutionibus on BYU Radio’s Top of Mind with Julie Rose, May 24, 2016 episode.

New acquisition in the History of Astronomy

One of the newest acquisitions in the History of Science collection is the first edition of French mathematician Oronce Finé’s Protomathesis (Paris, 1532), a compendium of astronomical and geographical knowledge. This book is important as a detailed summation of the field of astronomy in the decade before Nicolaus Copernicus published his heliocentric theory of the …

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Banned Books Week

The American Library Association’s 2015 Banned Books Week takes place Sep. 28-Oct. 2, celebrating the freedom to seek information and express views, even unpopular ones. The History of Science Collection contains plenty of examples of works which were unpopular and unaccepted at some point in time. Nicolaus Copernicus’ De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the revolutions …

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A very rare comet pamphlet

Special Collections’ newest addition to the History of Science collection is a comet pamphlet by Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius. The Epistola ad amicum de cometa, anno 1677 (in English: Letter to a Friend on the Comet of 1677) is Hevelius’s rarest publication – only one other copy exists in North American libraries. Hevelius (pictured here …

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Denis Diderot

Saturday, Oct. 5 marked the 300th anniversary of the birth of Enlightenment philosopher Denis Diderot.  Diderot is best known as the editor of Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (published 1751-72), one of the earliest and most comprehensive encyclopedias. Diderot wanted to capture all of the world’s knowledge, and the …

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Women in Early Modern Science

In conjunction with the Special Collections exhibit “The Art of Nature: Natural History in the 17th Century,” a new small exhibit entitled “Partners in Science” is now in display in the Special Collections reference room. This exhibit was curated by Special Collections intern Rebecca Strein. Stop by and learn about women’s involvement in the sciences …

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The Art of Nature: Natural History in the 17th Century

Special Collections is displaying works by English and Scottish scientists of the seventeenth century in a small exhibit, “The Art of Nature.” The exhibit is held in conjunction with the Margaret Cavendish Society’s Tenth Biennial Conference, which convenes in Provo and at the Sundance Resort this weekend. On display are catalogs of flora and fauna, …

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Early medicine

L. Tom Perry Special Collections doesn’t actively acquire books on medicine, but the History of Science Collection does have several hundred books published before 1800 about medicine, surgery, and human anatomy. Many are in Latin, but you’ll find a good number of titles in English or other European languages.While the information in these books is …

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