History of Science Resources

Lynx Open Ed
Courses, virtual exhibits, and educational resources in the history of science

Lynx Open Ed

While the History of Science Collections are closed to the public because of the pandemic, would you like to bring your class on a virtual tour? Contact me (kmagruder@ou.edu) to explore what we might be able to arrange. It wouldn’t be as rewarding as a normal on-site visit, but even in these times we could still interact together on a topic of your choice, and look at rare books in real time with a document camera.

Or if you are looking for virtual resources your students might enjoy during the pandemic, below are some that might be of interest. Links below are to videos I’ve posted at Vimeo, to videos made for my Janux online course, or to Open Educational Resources (OERs) at my two websites: Lynx Open Ed and The Sky Tonight. Unless otherwise noted, all items are by Kerry Magruder, Curator, History of Science Collections.


Astronomy, Physics, and Mathematics

  • Shape of the Earth video (2005; 46:48 mins).
    • Join several students on a time-travel tour, guided by the medieval physicist Nicole Oresme, as they survey ideas about the shape of the Earth. In the process, the students discover that the real “flat Earth myth” is not a mistaken medieval notion, but a modern prejudice! (Not polished, but hopefully better than a PowerPoint. I apologize for my terrible French.) Instructor materials.
  • Shape of the Earth II video (2020; 46:53 mins).
    • When did people discover that the Earth is round? Was their evidence for the spherical Earth convincing? If you were to find yourself in some remote location where people did not know the shape of the Earth, would you be able to point them to evidence accessible to them that would prove the Earth is round? This is an updated version of the previous video, in higher resolution but not as entertaining. More info.
    • Shape of the Earth colorized woodcut at Lynx Open Ed.
  • Copernicus and the Motion of the Earth (1 hr 51 mins).
    • Much as with similar talks on Kepler and Galileo (below), these talks are framed as if we were in the vaults of the Collections, turning the pages of the original books together, in order to see what stories are evident in the works themselves. They are an introduction to these astronomers through their works. They synthesize scholarship in the history of science, pitched for an interested public, at about the same level as a lecture in a history of science survey class. A PDF handout contains quotations, names of people mentioned, resources for further reading, and question prompts for discussion and reflection. Watch it in two sittings.
    • Copernicus and His Revolutions (79:26 mins). This older video surveys the background and work of Nicolas Copernicus, leading up to his De revolutionibus and its initial reception. The Renaissance Cosmos (18:49 mins) is one of the sections of Copernicus and His Revolutions.
  • Johann Kepler: Life and Works video (1 hr 15 mins)
    • Featuring the remarkable Kepler collection at the OU History of Science Collections, this introduction to Kepler has been presented to various audiences, including the 2013 Okie-Tex star party at Black Mesa, Oklahoma. As you watch, consider which of Kepler’s books will be next on your personal reading list.
  • The Life and Works of Galileo: A Guided Tour video (73:21 mins).
    • This presentation was recorded at NASA-Langley about the collection of first edition copies of Galileo’s works held in the OU History of Science Collections. Like the presentations on Copernicus and Kepler, it uses Galileo’s printed books as the basic framework for telling the story of Galileo’s life and work. As you watch, consider which of Galileo’s books will be next on your personal reading list. Accompanying handout.
    • Galileo’s World virtual exhibit at Lynx Open Ed. This is the landing page for the Galileo’s World Exhibit Guide, designed for educators, classes, and individual study. It provides an overview of the Galileo’s World exhibit in one compact and easy to scan format. It was the basis for a Galileo’s World course offered at OU in Fall 2017, team-taught by Brent Purkaple and Kerry Magruder, who were the main project curators for the 2015 Galileo’s World Exhibit. Links from this landing page offer more in-depth content than the Libraries’ own Galileo’s World website.
  • Historic Star Atlases and their Stories video (59:46 mins).
    • Thomas Carlyle spoke for all of us when he lamented… “Why did not somebody teach me the constellations, and make me at home in the starry heavens, which are always overhead, and which I don’t half-know to this day?” In this richly illustrated presentation by Kerry Magruder and Brent Purkaple, hear stories of the constellations and the early star atlases that portrayed them.
    • Sky Tonight project: “A cultural archaeology of the stars” (skytonight.org)
  • Gabriele Beati and Jesuit Cosmology (54 mins).
    • This long-ago presentation was the banquet address for 2005 at the 48th annual meeting of the Midwest Junto for the History of Science. A later version was published as Kerry V. Magruder, “Jesuit Science after Galileo: The Cosmology of Gabriele Beati,” Centaurus 2009, 51: 189-212.
  • Stars over Ancient Babylon (46:53 mins).
    • Join Kidinnu for a survey of the origin of mathematical astronomy in Ancient Mesopotamia. Babylonian astronomers were sources for Greek astronomy. Without the Babylonian contributions, later Greek astronomy such as we find in Hipparchos (150 BC) and Ptolemy (150 AD) would not have been possible. (Not polished, but hopefully better than a PowerPoint. I apologize for the poor audio narration – we recorded it in the wee hours one morning to get it ready in time for my class that week.)
  • Astronomy in Ancient Mesopotamia, Janux (4:31 mins)
  • Hellenistic mathematical sciences, Janux (4:01 mins)
  • Astronomy OERs at Lynx Open Ed.
  • Mathematics OERs at Lynx Open Ed.
  • Physics OERs at Lynx Open Ed.
  • Galileo’s works, Janux (9:06 mins)
  • The Galileo Affair, Janux (9:30 mins)

Biology and Life Sciences

  • Darwin 2009 – OU History of Science Collections (1:31 mins).
    • This video short was made for the Darwin 2009 celebration at the University of Oklahoma. It contains a brief description of the Darwin holdings in the History of Science Collections.
  • Darwin at the Library booklet at Lynx Open Ed.
    • This is 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.
  • Biology OERs at Lynx Open Ed.
  • Hellenistic medicine (2:24 mins)
  • 16th-century Medicine, Janux (7:13 mins)
  • 16th-century Natural History, Janux (9:23 mins)
  • Galileo and Medicine (74:06 mins).
    • A. T. Still University (ATSU) is the founding school of Osteopathic Medicine. They host an annual Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Symposium (program). I’m grateful to Dr. Brian Degenhardt, director of the A.T. Still Research Institute, for inviting me to present the Neil J. Sargentini Memorial Keynote Address at the 2019 symposium. The full title was “Galileo and Medicine: A Culture of Interdisciplinary Innovation.” To skip the intro, fast forward to 11:45 mins in for the start of the lecture.

Geology and Geosciences


Meteorology


Women and Science


History of the Book


History of Science (general, from my Janux course)