Galileo's World

Ada Lovelace: First Computer Programmer

Ada Lovelace Learning Leaflet

What is the difference between a calculating machine and a computer? 

In notes appended to Ada Lovelace's translation of one of the first introductions to Charles Babbage's "Analytical Engine," she included an in-depth analysis of the significance and potential of Babbage's machine design. These dense notes, much longer than the text she translated, explained how Babbage's machine had the potential of becoming a programmable computer, instead of merely a calculator.


The Trial of Galileo

Galileo Trial LL

The story of Galileo’s trial in 1633 intertwines two crucial earlier episodes:

1. Galileo’s encounter with the Inquisition in 1616; and

2. Publication of Galileo’s Dialogue on the Two Chief Systems of the World in 1632. 

Learn more about them in this learning leaflet.


Orion the Hunter

Orion the Hunter Learning Leaflet

Can you recognize Orion the Hunter?

Three bright stars in a row make up Orion's belt, within a rectangle of four bright stars representing his shoulders and feet. Since Orion's belt lies nearly upon the celestial equator, Orion is visible from every inhabited part of the globe. This OER introduces the astronomy and skylore of the constellation Orion the Hunter.


Hoot the Owl

Hoot the Owl

A children’s book, The Story of How the Constellation ‘Hoot the Owl’ Began, was written and Illustrated by Anna Todd (2017), a 2nd grade student at Rose Witcher Elementary School, El Reno Public Schools, located in El Reno, Oklahoma. The book developed in collaboration with Stacey Stephenson and was inspired by the Galileo's World exhibition (backstory).


Apiarium (English Translation)


In this first publication of observations made with a microscope, Cesi and Stelluti studied the anatomy of the bee. The text includes classical references to bees as well as new knowledge, integrated in a tabular outline. The title area shows four ancient coins depicting bees, and the crest of the Barberini family showing three busy bees. Because only a handful were printed, the type has bitten deeply into the paper. Oklahoma holds one of only four extant printed copies. This english translation is by Clara Sue Kidwell, formatted by Leah Vanderburg.


Boldly Explore: Camille Flammarion (1888)

Flammarion-1888 Learning Leaflet

Where will the quest of discovery lead you? 

Science is a quest of discovery, the challenge of boldly exploring where no one has gone before. That is the appeal and rhetorically durable theme which has made this woodcut so appealing.

Many have reprinted this illustration through the years, sometimes without knowing its original source. It first appeared in this popular work on meteorology. Flammarion was an astronomer and popular science writer who worked at the Juvissy Observatory in Paris. He was mistaken in his belief that scientists, writers and theologians in the Middle Ages and Renaissance regarded the Earth as flat.

Related OER:  Colorized version of Flammarion's image by Susanna Magruder.


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.


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. 


Kepler's Cosmic Dance suite

Jonathan A. Annis

For the Galileo’s World exhibition, Jonathan A. Annis, a graduate student in the OU School of Music, worked as co-curator of the Music of the Spheres gallery. In this role he composed a suite for harp, flute (doubling alto flute) and oboe (doubling English horn) entirely comprised of musical themes from Kepler’s Harmonices mundi.  Annis arranged the themes, but they derive from Kepler’s musical description of the harmonic law. In this piece, Kepler’s universe becomes a cosmic dance. Visitors to the Music of the Spheres gallery during the Galileo's World exhibition were able to listen to a short excerpt of the suite on an iPad kiosk.  (Background. Learning Leaflet.)  CC-by-sa-nc.


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.