Revealing the Objects: Science and Mathematics

Collections / Digitisation - Posted 07-09-2018

As of October 2018 the Library will share a number of additional items from its collections on Europeana, a European digital cultural platform. We are currently working with 12 other partner institutions on a project entitled ‘The Rise of Literacy’ which aims to explore the history of reading and writing in Europe. In this weekly blog series – ‘Revealing the Objects, some of the Library’s contributions will be disclosed on a thematic basis.

Here’s a selection of scientific and mathematical publications. These will be digitized as part of the project.


Robert Recorde – The Whetstone of Witte: whiche is the seconde parte of arithmetike; containyng thextraction of rootes: the cossike practise, with the rule of equation: and the woorkes of surde nombers (1557)

The Whetstone of Witte’ was published in 1557 and written by the influential Welsh mathematician and teacher Robert Recorde. It is in this book that algebra and the equals sign (=) are first introduced in published form.

Robert Hooke – Micrographia (1665)

Robert Hooke worked at the Royal Society as Head of Experiments and his scientific interests varied. He made several influential and pioneering contributions to his field, for example, he invented the compound microscope. Through his microscope Hooke looked at insects, plants and bird’s feathers; detailed drawings of these are included in ‘Micrographia’. In addition, his publication presented a new way of conducting scientific exercises; through careful observation and the recording of results. Hooke’s concepts were highly influential and became common practices within the scientific field.

William Robert Grove – On the Correlation of Physical Forces: being the substance of a course of lectures delivered in the London Institution, in the year 1843 (1846)

William Robert Grove was a Welsh physical scientist, judge and lawyer. He was particularly devoted to his scientific work and gained considerable praise for his research projects within that field. His ‘On the Correlation of Physical Forces’, published in 1846, is considered a literary classic. In this volume Grove explains the principle of the conservation of energy. It is worth noting that his work was published a year prior to that of Herman von Helmholtz, a German physicist who also enunciated the above principle in his famous thesis ‘Über die Erhaltung der Kraft’ (“On the Conservation of Force”).

William Henry Preece – Telegraphy (1914)

For most of his professional career William Henry Preece was connected to the field of telegraphic engineering and its development. Educated at King’s College, London, he quickly progressed in the area and was appointed electrician to the General Post Office in 1877 and promoted to engineer-in-chief in 1892. This publication demonstrates his interest in the development of the field and is a general introduction to the science of Telegraphy.


Want to see more posts from this series? See below:


Elen Hâf Jones – Digital Access Projects Officer

This post was created as part of the Europeana Rise of Literacy Project

This post is also available in: Welsh

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