Mellon Travel Fellowships

Through a generous endowment provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University of Oklahoma offers a short-term travel fellowship program to support research in the history of science for periods ranging from 2 to 8 weeks. For information about travel fellowships, start here:

  1. Fellowship program
  2. FAQ

Applicants preparing proposals should contact the History of Science Collections Research Coordinator, JoAnn Palmeri.

Proposals are evaluated according to the following schedule:

  • Proposal deadline for fellowships in the Spring term: October 1. Decisions announced by October 15.
  • Proposal deadline for fellowships in the Summer terms: February 1. Decisions announced by February 15.
  • Proposal deadline for fellowships in the Fall term: April 1. Decisions announced by April 15.

To extend their stay, and to conserve program funds for use by additional fellows, applicants are encouraged to consider the fellowship program as a means of supplementing the partial funding which they may be able to obtain from their own institutions or other sources.

Posted in Research tips

Renovation progress

A major renovation project now underway on the 5th floor of Bizzell Memorial Library will transform how students and the public experience special collections. With an area of approximately 10,000 square feet under construction, the project will reconfigure the old lobby, reading rooms and office areas into enhanced public access, research and exhibition spaces.

The floor houses four distinct special collections:

  • History of Science Collections
  • Bass Business History Collection
  • John and Mary Nichols Rare Books and Special Collections
  • Bizzell Bible Collection

Each collection will become more accessible and better known as a result of these renovations. They will share a common lobby, which will gain a more dignified atmosphere befitting a great research center. Near the elevator end of the lobby, visitors will orient themselves to exhibitions in a multimedia theater. At the far end of the lobby, the Roller Reading Room, along with an adjacent conference room, will provide an accessible and secure study space for students and researchers to examine special collections materials.

The new Exhibition Hall will bring more visitors to the Bass, Nichols and Bizzell areas of the floor than ever before. Every 5th floor exhibition, including Galileo’s World, will draw from all four collections. This is one reason why exhibits will be interdisciplinary in character. (The word World in Galileo’s World is important; Galileo’s World is not a purely history of science exhibit, nor is it strictly about Galileo himself.)

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The James G. Harlow, Jr. room will become a special events meeting room and classroom, distinguished by its unique combination of high tech with a rare books ambiance.

Behind the scenes, all four climate-controlled vaults on the 5th floor are now equipped with compact shelving, increasing the floor’s capacity to maintain rare materials in safe and secure conditions.

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Construction is currently on track to complete the renovation project by the end of the semester. Installation of Galileo’s World will occur during the summer, toward an opening date of August 1.

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See the previous post on BL5 renovation. For renovation-related service updates, see our Researcher pages.

Posted in In the news

Digitization Laboratory

Posted in Digital projects

Announcing the Galileo’s World exhibition

by Kerry Magruder

Gw logoThe Galileo’s World exhibition brings worlds together, connecting the world of Galileo with the world of OU during the University’s 125th anniversary.

Beginning in August, 2015, the Galileo’s World exhibition will offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view a complete set of first editions of Galileo’s printed works. Four of the OU copies contain Galileo’s own handwriting. They will be joined by 300 matchless rare books and manuscripts and finely-crafted replicas of historical instruments, some provided by the Museo Galileo in Florence.

Consider these three stories of how Galileo’s World will bring worlds together:

Johann Schreck was a friend of Galileo’s who assisted him during his telescopic observations. A few years later, Schreck went to China, where he wrote a work on engineering in Chinese. The OU copy incorporates Japanese revisions as well. OU students will discover much more to this story in the gallery on Galileo and China, where they will connect Galileo’s world with Chinese and Asian aspects of University life today.

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Just as Galileo’s World brings together the worlds of OU and east Asia, so with the Americas. In the most important early natural history of America to be printed in Europe, Francesco Hernandez reported the plant and medical knowledge of the Aztecs of central Mexico. This work was regarded with such interest that Galileo and his colleagues in the Academy of the Lynx worked to finally publish it in 1651. Every OU student in a STEM field today will appreciate discovering that European progress in the life sciences, as far back as the scientific revolution, directly depended upon the natural knowledge of Native Americans.
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Just as Galileo’s World brings together the worlds of Asia and the Americas, so it reaches through time to the Middle Ages and includes the Middle East. Selenographia, a massive book by Johann Hevelius, the leading telescopic observer of the mid-17th century, was the first comprehensive lunar atlas, published less than 40 years after Galileo’s telescopic discoveries.

On the frontispiece, Hevelius celebrates science as the heritage of many cultures. Here, in one of the most impressive works of the scientific revolution, Hevelius portrays Galileo in Middle Eastern dress as a tribute to the tradition of medieval Islamic optics.
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These three brief stories show how Galileo’s World brings together worlds as far removed as Asia, America and the Middle East.

Galileo’s World is an “exhibition without walls.” Beginning with Bizzell Memorial Library at the heart of the Norman campus, galleries in each major library, including the Bird Library and the Schusterman Library, will bring together the Norman, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa campuses.

Joint-exhibitions at the National Weather Center, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art and the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History will engage visitors to these renowned museums and research centers.

Thanks to financial assistance provided by the OU Athletic Department, the University has acquired for the Galileo’s World exhibition an original Galileo-related manuscript by Oratio Grassi (1623), a beautiful work relating Renaissance art to Galileo and the telescope (Lorenzo Sirigatti, 1596), and the dialogue on ancient and modern music written by Galileo’s father, Vincenzo Galilei (1581). Coach Galileo will offer advice to the Sooners in a gallery located in Headington Hall, where athletes will strike the poses of the muscle men of Vesalius (1543) instead of only the Heisman trophy.

Vesalius muscle man

Galileo’s World will connect every academic program of the University, sustaining a multidisciplinary conversation that brings our worlds together across time and space. A portion of Tuscany was transplanted to the windswept plains of Oklahoma, and now the story of Galileo has become part of every student’s and researcher’s experience at OU. The interconnectedness of science and culture which characterized Galileo’s world, and which connects Galileo’s world to our own day, remains the common heritage of humanity which we explore across the University and beyond Oklahoma to the world.

See and or contact for more information.

Posted in Exhibits and events | 2 Comments

OU Athletics Department enables OU Libraries to add valuable book to Galileo collection

by Kerry Magruder

As the Sooners play the Clemson Tigers in the Russell Athletic Bowl today, it’s worth asking,

“How many Athletic Depts buy rare #Galileo books for their university libraries?”

This year marks the third year in a row that the OU Sooners have contributed a major rare book to OU Libraries’ renowned Galileo history of science collection.

The OU Athletics Department provided funds this fall to assist OU Libraries in acquiring a first edition of the major work of Galileo’s father, Vincenzo Galilei, Dialogo della musica antica, et della moderna (Florence, 1581; “Dialogue on Music, Ancient and Modern“).

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Galileo’s father Vincenzo Galilei was a significant musical theorist, one of the inventors of Italian opera. This work provided an exemplar for Galileo’s own Dialogo (1632, “Dialogue on the Two Chief Systems of the World“), his masterful defense of the Copernican Sun-centered cosmology, for which he was put on trial. The father Galilei and the son Galileo shared a love for the lute, a robust debating style and an emphasis on experimental methodologies.

Vincenzo Galilei’s Dialogo will be featured in the Music of the Spheres gallery of the forthcoming Galileo’s World exhibition, which will launch in August, 2015, to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the University of Oklahoma. Galileo’s World will be an “Exhibition without Walls,” distributed across 7 locations, including all three University of Oklahoma campuses; comprised of 21 galleries featuring more than 300 rare books, historical instrument replicas, and interactive digital resources.

The Digitization Laboratory (@OULibDigitize) of OU Libraries is scanning Vincenzo Galilei’s Dialogo, and it will soon appear, along with the other books on display, in the new OU Libraries Galileo’s World repository.

This significant addition filled the single most obvious remaining deficiency in the OU Galileo collection. The newly acquired OU copy is in original condition, with an interesting provenance, having at one time formed part of a major French collector’s library.

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See additional Vincenzo Galilei images on our Flickr gallery here. See also these images of the original Grassi manuscript, acquired with assistance from the OU Athletics Department in 2012 as described here.

Posted in Featured book, Recent acquisitions | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Reprising King Richard III at OU

by JoAnn Palmeri

RIIIJPEGKing Richard III (1452-1485) is in the news again, with media outlets reporting the results of DNA analysis of his remains, discovered underneath a parking lot in Leicester. This seems like an opportune moment to remind readers of our own contribution to the recognition of the discovery.

At the time of the announcement by University of Leicester team, we identified and placed on display several rare books relating to the ill-fated monarch, including biographical accounts, chronicles of English monarchs, and Shakespeare’s Second Folio. These works are currently held in the John and Mary Nichols Rare Books and Special Collections Library at the University of Oklahoma.

We may not have the bones but we have the tomes!  See the following brochure for a guide to our February 2013 Richard III display and for a glimpse into the holdings of the John and Mary Nichols Collection.

Richard III, brochure

Access to the John and Mary Nichols Collection is available to students, faculty, and other researchers. Holdings are included in the library’s online catalog. For more information, visit the Special Collections Reading Room on the 4th floor of Bizzell Memorial Library (Room 414, west side of floor; Hours: M-F 9-4pm, 325-2760).  You can also contact the Acting Curator, Dr. JoAnn Palmeri at or (405) 325-2741.

NOTE: Because of renovations in preparation for next year’s Galileo’s World Exhibit, the 5th floor is no longer accessible to the public. Requests for materials from the Bass Business History, Bizzell Bible, History of Science, and John and Mary Nichols Collections can be made at our new 4th floor location.

See earlier King Richard III at OU Post


Posted in Exhibits and events | 1 Comment

Helmerich Collaborative Learning Center

Watch this 3-minute video for a quick overview of the innovative Peggy V. Helmerich Collaborative Learning Center on LL1 in the Bizzell Memorial Library:

Follow the HCLC on Facebook or Twitter. For more information, to make an appointment with a technology librarian, or to book a study room online, see the Locations tab of the Library website.

Posted in In the news, Learning resources | 1 Comment