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Catherine Whitwell: Astronomy & Creative Writing

Catherine Whitwell Learning Leaflet

Why write science in a creative style? 

Catherine Whitwell wrote an introduction to the night sky as a conversational dialogue between a mother and daughter. 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 Water Snake. Another plate conveys a dramatic impression of the Full Moon at night, shown against a striking black background. 


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Vincenzo Galilei: Discorso particolare intorno all'unisono

Vincenzo LL

Vincenzo Galilei was among the first music theorists to advocate for a new system of tuning based on performance, instead of the mathematical principles of music set fourth by Pythagoras. Pythagorean music theory bases pitch on the mathematical proportions of dividing a string. Vincenzo's primary problem with this system is that, although it is great for the mathematician and the music theorist, it is impractical for the performer. All music based on this particular system of tuning would inevitably sound out of tune and unpleasant. In this learning leaflet learn about the tuning systems in the late-Renaissance period.


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Pythagorean Solids: Five Regular Solids

Pythagorean Solids Learning Leaflet

Can you identify the five regular solids? 

Throughout history the regular solids were studied with keen interest by astronomers, mathematicians, artists, architects and philosophers. The Pythagoreans proved that there are only five regular solids: the cube, triangle, octahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedron. 


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Constellation tubes | Six constellations

Six constellations

Identify six common constellations by their star patterns.

Urania's Mirror was a set of 32 constellation cards designed to aid in identifying the constellations by distinguishing between star patterns and constellation figures. This set includes six constellations, selected so that at least one of them is visible (in the northern hemisphere) at any time of the year. 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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Galileo's World Discussion Guide

Galileo's World Discussion Guide

A discussion guide organized around the book, "Galileo: A Very Short Introduction," by Stillman Drake. It is designed in conjunction with the Galileo's World Exhibition at the University of Oklahoma to be used as an accessible introduction to the world of Galileo.


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Astronomy & Music: Introduction to the Duochord

Duochord Learning Leaflet

Can you identify simple musical intervals? 

The ancient Pythagoreans envisioned the heavens as a musical scale, comprised of celestial spheres rotating according to harmonious music. For Robert Fludd, a seventeenth-century physician, the universe was a monochord, its physical structure unintelligible without an understanding of music. In this activity, explore the relationship between mathematics, astronomy, and music.


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Della Porta: Natural Magic

Natural Magic LL

Giambattista della Porta was one of the most widely known European Renaissance magicians. In 1558, at the age of twenty three, the first edition of his book Natural Magic was printed. Due to its popularity and Della Porta's increased fame, he published an expanded second edition in 1589, increasing the original four books to twenty books. Learn more in this learning leaflet.


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Relativity of Motion: The Moving Ship Thought Experiment

Relativity of Motion Learning Leaflet

Why do we have no eyewitness reports refuting Aristotle's physics? 

Galileo's "Dialogue on the Two Chief Systems of the World" includes a discussion about dropping balls from the mast of both a moving ship and a ship at rest in order to test the theory of inertia. If sailors actually had performed the experiment, believing with Aristotle that a cannonball dropped from the mast would fall harmlessly into the wake of the ship, why were no reports made to the contrary? This OER features a cartoon answering that question.


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Darwin at the Library Exhibition

Darwin at the Library Exhibition Brochure

An Exhibit Guide for the "Darwin at the Library” exhibition held at the University of Oklahoma Bizzell Memorial Library, Summer 2011, comprised of the Darwin first editions that were displayed in the “Darwin at the Museum” joint exhibition with the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Fall 2009.


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