Galileo's World

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. 


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Six Cosmological Systems: Phases of Venus

Kircher-Cosmological Systems-Venus

It is often thought that Galileo's discovery of the phases of venus demonstrated the contested heliocentric model of the universe. However, such an understanding is overly simplistic of the early modern account of astronomy. Use this learning leaflet to learn more.


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Urania's Mirror: Constellation Cards

Urania's Mirror Learning Leaflet

What are your favorite constellations?

Urania's Mirror was a set of constellation cards designed to aid in the teaching and learning of constellations. This set includes 32 cards, each focused upon one or a few constellations. Holes punched in the positions of bright stars allow one to hold any card up to a light and compare the star pattern with the constellation figure.

OERs in this set:  


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Art and Astronomy Walking Tour

Art and Astronomy Walking Tour

“What was it like when art and astronomy were intertwined?”

Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, Lorenzo Sirigatti, Galileo... what joins them together?  Why is Galileo's Starry Messenger (1610) displayed alongside Giorgio Vasari's Lives of Eminent Painters and Sculptors

Galileo’s scientific discoveries occurred in the context of a specific artistic culture which possessed sophisticated mathematical techniques for drawing with linear perspective and handling light and shadow.

Do you know someone who received a telescope for Christmas? There's no better way to begin looking through a telescope than to ponder the way Galileo's professional training as an artist prepared him to make his astronomical discoveries.

In the Galileo’s World exhibition, four galleries took their point of departure from Galileo’s Starry Messenger (Sidereus nuncius, 1610):  
• Galileo and Perspective Drawing  
• Galileo and the Telescope   
• The Moon and the Telescope   
• The Sky at Night

These distinct but overlapping galleries were on physical display in different places and combinations during the course of the Galileo’s World exhibition, most notably at the National Weather Center and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.  Various books from these galleries are part of the current Rotating Display and the "The Sky Tonight reprise" gallery, including Galileo’s Starry Messenger itself.

Use this handout to aid you in you as you walk through the 2017 Rotating Display and The Sky at Night reprise gallery.


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Maria Cunitz: Kepler's Defender

Maria Cunitz Learning Leaflet

How important in science is usability? 

Prior to Newton, perhaps half a dozen astronomers accepted Kepler s three laws. Galileo was typical in ignoring Kepler s accomplishments. Yet this beautiful book is an exception. Maria Cunitz was not only one of the first astronomers to adopt Johann Kepler's astronomy, but because of the usability of her tables, she made the accuracy of Kepler's laws easy to grasp. 


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Orion: Baba, Nobutake (1706)

Orion China Learning Leaflet

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 book exemplifies the circulation of knowledge in East Asia and the interplay between Asian and European ideas.


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Urania's Mirror: card set (full page)

Urania's Mirror Card Set

What are your favorite constellations?

Urania's Mirror was a set of constellation cards designed to aid in the teaching and learning of constellations. This set includes 32 cards, each focused upon one or a few constellations. Holes punched in the positions of bright stars allow one to hold any card up to a light and compare the star pattern with the constellation figure. This is the full-page set.

OERs in this set:  


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Hildegard of Bingen: An Abbess for Health Care

Hildegard of Bingen Learning Leaflet

Why did people come to Hildegard’s convent? 

Hildegard of Bingen, Abbess of convents at Rupertsberg and Elbingen in the 12th century, explained their herbal remedies and medical procedures in her book Physica. In addition to this work on medicine, Hildegard wrote other works on cosmology and theology, corresponded in nearly 400 letters with abbots, popes and emperors, and created at least 70 musical compositions. This OER explores the significance of Hildegard of Bingen.


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Banned Books of the Scientific Revolution

Banned Books Learning Leaflet

The three most famous banned books of the Copernican revolution, listed in chronological order, are On the Revolutions of Copernicus (1543); a Commentary on the biblical book of Job by Zúñiga, a theologian in Salamanca; and a Letter in defense of Copernicus by the Carmelite monk Paolo Foscarini. Use this learning leaflet to learn more about them.


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Maria Merian: World-Traveling Entomologist

Maria Merian Learning Leaflet

How do art and travel benefit natural history? 

Maria Merian (1647-1717), skilled in both art and natural history, studied the relationships between flowers and insects. She conducted field expeditions around the world, carried out research in gardens and museums, and produced detailed sketches and beautiful paintings, and even bred insects to aid in her entomological investigations. 


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