Friday, January 23, 2015

British Library

by Anisha Nigam

        The British Library was founded in 1753 and is home to many historical texts of the Western Civilization that can be found no where else in the world. The British Library consists of close to 200 million research texts and is a place where many people go to do in depth research. This was my second visit to the British Library and I am glad I was able to do a blog entry on this particular place. At first, I wanted to look at the Beatles work which mainly consisted of lyrics, many of which had originally been written on a napkin. I also quickly skimmed through the religion section which included Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism.  With that said, I moved my focus towards the sciences, which included Galileo Galilei, Anne Mclaren, and Willaim Henry Fox Talbot.
        I came across The Starry Messenger by Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), which we had read parts of in seminar classes and our current class that we are taking. His text was filled with his astronomical observations that he made with one of the first telescopes. We also have discussed many of the observations and discoveries of Galileo in our History of Science class. The text is also referred to as Sidereal Messenger that was published in New Latin in March 1610. With his telescope, he discovered that the moon had rough surfaces (contradicting the classical model, which was the belief that all astronomical surfaces were smooth) and discovered hundreds of stars that were never able to be seen from the naked eye.

Sidereus Nuncius (The Starry Messenger) by Galileo Galilei
        Another interesting text I came across was research done by an English woman named Anne Mclaren (1927-2007) which involved embryo transfers in mice (gene activity of mice is similar to those of humans), which made mice a good way to test for what would work on humans. She was made an officer of the Royal Society after her work in developmental biology lead to human in vitro fertilization.
        Another person who caught my attention was William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877). Talbot came up with the first way of using a process known as calotype which were photographic process. His invention of the calotype process has made current day photography available and he was more noted as contributing towards the artistic field.

This is a picture of the first printing press of Johannes Gutenberg, the books in the back were a separate part of the library

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