‘The whole man at once’: scientific identities at the Dibner Library

George Sarton, a founder of the history of science as an academic discipline, argued that scholars should pay close attention to portraits. These images, he said, can give you ‘the whole man at once.’ With a ‘great portrait,’ Sarton believed, ‘you are given immediately some fundamental knowledge of him, which even the longest descriptions and discussions would fail to evoke.’ Sarton’s ideas led Bern Dibner to purchase portrait prints of men and women of science and technology. Many of these are now in the Smithsonian’s Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology. – Deborah Jean Warner, Curator, Physical Sciences Collection   A picture may tell 1000 words, but another 500 for context can add depth to the image. Follow this blog series to discover the people behind the portraits available online in the Scientific Identity collection. Joseph Jerome Le Francais de Lalande (1732-1807) Had Joseph Jerome Le Francis de Lalande chosen a different place of lodging, he may very well have become a barrister or priest in the more »

Mary Smith’s Commonplace book of science and mathematics added to Transcription Center

Mary Smith’s Commonplace book concerning science and mathematics  is a remarkable manuscript for several reasons. 1) It contains a wide breadth of information on the sciences of the mid to late 18th century 2) Mary Smith collected and compiled the information at a time when women were still not widely educated.

New “Astronomical” Acquisition

The Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology recently enriched its collection with an intriguing 16th century work in astronomy, Christop Clavius’s In sphaeram Ioannis de Sacro Bosco commentarius. Romae, 1570. Apud Victorium Helianum.

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