Fall into the History of Science Collections

by JoAnn Palmeri

As Fall begins today with the autumnal equinox, it is a perfect time to remind our readers of the extraordinary astronomical books held in the History of Science Collections at the University of Oklahoma.

Joannes de Sacro Bosco, Sphera volgare (Venice, 1537)

Astronomy in the Collections

Hyginus, Poeticon astronomicon (Venice, 1485)The History of Science Collections is known for its significant holdings in the history of astronomy and allied sciences. These holdings include rare and unique treatises by Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton; the first printed editions of astronomical texts from antiquity and the medieval period; textbooks, celestial atlases, and popular astronomy works through the 20th century; and much, much more.

Many of our books are digitized and available in our online gallery of images. Browse this gallery by century, name, and date of published work. Browser beware: we are in the process of migrating all of our images to SHARE OK (the university’s new online archive), and so you may find some broken links as you search.

Resources for Study & Research in the History of Astronomy 

Flammarion-1881-000-coverBeyond our rare books, the collections holds many modern editions, reference books, textbooks, and introductory accounts in the history of astronomy and related topics. Whether you are trying to become more familiar with a new topic, conducting in-depth study, or doing original research, we have the resources you need. For both rare works and modern editions, you can identify items held in the Collections by searching the Discover Local, the online catalog.

Use our Guide to Resources to identify introductory works, modern critical editions, and reference sources that can assist you with your work. Some of these materials may be held in the History of Science Collections, or in Bizzell or a branch library, or, they may be available online.

  • See the page on the guide featuring introductory works in the history of astronomy.
  • See the page on the guide featuring tips on searching for scientists’ writings. It lists examples of modern critical editions of astronomy works from antiquity through the modern period (scroll down the page to get to the links of catalog records of works by Cleomedes, Ptolemy, Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī’, Kepler, Newton).

Beyond these select items, the following list illustrates the range of scholarly resources and research materials available for the study of the history of astronomy in the Collections: Astronomy Across Cultures: The History of Non-Western Astronnomy; The Sun in the Church: Cathedrals as Solar Observatories; The History of Modern Astronomy and Astrophysics: A Selected, Annotated Bibliography; New Heavens and a New Earth: The Jewish Reception of Copernican Thought; Picturing the Cosmos: Hubble Space Telescope Images and the Astronomical Sublime; A Reexamination of Caroline Herschel: Eighteenth-Century Astronomy and the Herschel Family EconomyPlurality of Worlds: The Origins of the Extraterrestrial Life Debate from Democritus to Kant; The Moon and the Western Imagination.

Campus Connections

Several Faculty Members in the Department of the History of Science publish in area of history of astronomy; see the Faculty Book page on our resource guide, which includes books by current as well as former faculty, visiting scholars, and alumni of the program.

 Margaret Bryan's Compendious System of Astronomy - Frontispiece

Interested in doing work in the history of astronomy at OU? See the Department of the History of Science page to learn more about graduate and undergraduate study.

Use the search box on the top right side of this page to find more posts relating to the history of astronomy at OU and beyond, including information on exhibits relating to OU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.




About ouhos

Kristina Southwell, Head of Operations; Kerry Magruder, Curator; and JoAnn Palmeri, Librarian
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