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 (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 (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.
  • The Life and Works of Galileo: A Guided Tour video (73:21 mins).
    • This is a presentation I made at NASA-Langley about the collection of first edition copies of Galileo’s works held in the OU History of Science Collections. The hour-long video uses Galileo’s printed books as the basic framework for telling the story of Galileo’s life and work. As you watch the presentation, 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)
  • Copernicus and His Revolutions (79:26 mins).
    • This video surveys the background and work of Nicolas Copernicus, leading up to his De revolutionibus and its initial reception. It is NOT recommended for watching in a single session, due to its compact and very dense exposition. Divide it into about 3 episodes. Total length: about 75 mins. (Not polished, but hopefully better than a PowerPoint.)
    • The Renaissance Cosmos (18:49 mins). This video is one of the sections of the Copernicus video.
  • 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


Women and Science

History of the Book

History of Science (general, from my Janux course)