Learning Leaflet

Johann Kepler: Blueprints of the Universe

Kepler-Blueprints Learning Leaflet

Is there a mathematical basis of the universe? 

Johann Kepler's "Mystery of the Universe" is one of the brilliant illustrations in the history of astronomy. Kepler used the five regular Pythagorean solids to refute the major objections to Copernicanism. 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 observational error, the geometry of the 5 regular Pythagorean solids. 


Diurnal Motion: An Introduction


Each day and night, the fixed stars appear to rotate around the earth like a giant celestial sphere. Just like the Sun, they rise in the east and set in the west. The daily motion of the entire sky, rising from the east, setting in the west, rotating around the north pole, is called the diurnal motion. Learn more about diurnal motion in this learning leaflet.


The Abacus: Introduction

Abacus Learning Leaflet

How does an abacus work?

The Abacus was an instrument useful for various mathematical computations. This learning leaflet provides step-by-step instructions for the basic operations of the abacus


Edward Jenner: The Mystery of the Milkmaids

Edward Jenner Learning Leaflet

Edward Jenner was a physician in the eighteenth and nineteenth century who studied the disease known as cowpox. Traditional medical knowledge demonstrated that milkmaids who contracted the disease cowpox became immune to smallpox. On account of this information Jenner surmised that pus from cowpox blisters (such as shown in the pictures) could be used to inoculate against smallpox. Learn more about Jenner, vaccines, and immunology in this learning leaflet.


Johann Schreck: Galileo's Friend in China

Johann Schreck Learning Leaflet

How did knowledge spread in Galileo’s world? 

Johann Schreck joined the Jesuit order in 1611, the same year that he used Galileo's telescope to observe the satellites of Jupiter. Upon becoming a Jesuit, Schreck joined the Jesuit mission in China, taking with him a scientific library of approximately 7,000 volumes as well as a Galilean telescope. Schreck's story is the beginning of a century-long exchange of scientific ideas between Europe and Asia. 


The Planisphere: An Introduction

A. Klippel, Starry Heavens

The planisphere is a handy map of the night sky that works every night every season of the year. Learn more about how to use a planisphere in this learning leaflet.


Augustine: The Bible and Science

Augustine-The Bible Science Learning Leaflet

How did Augustine understand the relationship between the Bible and Science?

Saint Augustine discussed the relationship between religion and science in the 5th century. Such views became highly influential throughout the history of science for those interested in explaining the relationship between religion and science. This learning leaflet provides a brief introduction to Augustine's views. Also included is a handout with quotations from Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Isaac Newton regarding the relationship between religion and science.


Coma Berenices Learning Leaflet

Coma Berenices Learning Leaflet

Coma Berenices is the only one of the modern 88 official constellations named after a historical figure. It represents the hair of Berenice, Queen of Egypt (267 221 BCE), who reigned with Ptolemy III Euergetes. Learn more about this in this learning leaflet.


Madame du Châtelet: Newtonian Physicist

 Madame du Châtelet Learning Leaflet

Are they talking about physics as they stroll through the garden? 

At a time when very few scientists were capable even of reading Newton's masterwork of physics, the "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy," Madame du Châtelet mastered it and translated it into French. She also defended Newton in the Newton-Leibniz controversy. 


The Sundial: An Introduction

Bernardino Baldi, Nova gnomonices

A sundial consists of a gnomon, which casts the Sun's shadow, and a dial on which the shadow indicates the time. Learn more about sundials in this learning leaflet.