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History of science workshop led by Rupert Baker

Event details

The Royal Society’s printed book collection features a significant number of beautiful and important works on astronomy, charting the development of the subject over more than five hundred years. Our Incunabula collection includes fifteenth-century interpretations of the work of Ptolemy which formerly belonged in the great private library of the Duke of Norfolk. Moving on to the dawn of the scientific revolution, descriptions of Tycho Brahe’s naked-eye instruments are succeeded by Galileo’s first telescopic observations and the work of Robert Hooke and Johannes Hevelius; meanwhile, star atlases range from Johann Bayer’s stunning Uranometria to the heavenly maps of John Flamsteed.

The explosion of scientific knowledge in the nineteenth century then gives us a succession of engagingly illustrated books explaining instruments and observations to a popular audience, while the Royal Society’s own involvement in instrument design is revealed via the story of the Great Melbourne Telescope.

Join Rupert Baker, Library Manager at the Royal Society, to look inside a range of books and find out how astronomers have watched the skies, what they have observed, and how they have communicated their discoveries to successive generations.

Attending this event

This event is free to attend and open to all. Numbers are limited to 15 places and booking is required. Please register here. Please contact Felicity Henderson ( with any queries about this event.