600 YEARS OF BOOK COLLECTING, ISSUE 4: Astronomy & Mathematics — COMING SOON!!

Friday 7 February 2014

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issue 4The fourth issue of 600 Years of Book Collecting will be available for sale from the Main Library next Wednesday, the 12th of February. This issue, the first of this semester, looks at books from the Library’s collection which tell the story of “Astronomy & Mathematics ” at St Andrews. Scholars at St Andrews have been looking to the night sky since the 15th century, and the appointment of James Gregory in 1668 as the first Regius Professor of Mathematics at St Andrews established the University as a leading scientific institution. From early copies of Euclid’s Elements to the first CD-ROMs owned by the University, the University Library supplies the books, journals and electronic resources to further mathematical and astronomical investigation at within the University today.

Two-page spread from Issue 4 of 600 Years of Book Collecting, featuring the first edition of John Napier's Rabdologiae (TypBE.C17HN)
Two-page spread from Issue 4 of 600 Years of Book Collecting, featuring the first edition of John Napier’s Rabdologiae (TypBE.C17HN)

Astronomy & Mathematics ” features first editions of some of the greatest scientific and mathematic works to ever be published, many of which have been sitting on St Andrews’ shelves since they were published; including Karl Friedrich Gauss’s Disquisitiones Arithmeticae and Isaac Newton’s Principia. Also featured are works by two great St Andrean scientists, James Gregory‘s Optica Promota and John Napier‘s Rabdologiae.

Two-page spread from Issue 4 of 600 Years of Book Collecting, featuring Annie Cannon's The Henry Draper Catalogue & Extension (f QB4.H33)
Two-page spread from Issue 4 of 600 Years of Book Collecting, featuring Annie Cannon’s The Henry Draper Catalogue & Extension (f QB4.H33)

Each issue of 600 Years of Book Collecting features a full chronological listing of the entire series, and each issue also features a part of a visual timeline of the University Library’s history. This series brings together the clarity of modern design and the inherent beauty of the Library’s strongest asset — its books. At £3 each, these beautiful magazines are a beautiful introduction to the University Library’s holdings and a great way to get excited about the Library and the University of St Andrews, recently named Scottish University of the Year 2014.

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2 thoughts on "600 YEARS OF BOOK COLLECTING, ISSUE 4: Astronomy & Mathematics — COMING SOON!!"

  • juliamelvin1
    Friday 7 February 2014, 12.05pm

    Dear Librarians I am enjoying this series enormously. Today's budget reminded me of a beautiful book in my possession and exhibited in MUSA a couple of years ago. Lockyer's Solar Physics. was given as First Prize, in the Department of Physics to Principal Irvine, when he was a humble undergraduate in 1897. Professor Butler was the Prof. This prize, like other St Andrews prizes of that time, is bound in heavy calf, and stamped with a gold impression of a seal that is not one of the Papal Bull seals, - so I don't recognise it . The fact that it professes to be a popular account of the physical constitution of the sun tells us something of the difference between the prevailing seriousness of latter 19th century and our times. It would not be considered popular today; and yet I would guess it was indeed written for the non-specialist. James Irvine was pushing himself through a degree in Chemistry in record time, at the same time as holding down his job as Assistant to Professor Purdie in the Chemistry Department. Nevertheless, pencil markings inside the book, a weighty volume of 676 pages, show that he had read it. Interest in the solar system was considered of popular interest in the latter 19th century. Perhaps, however, television programmes no matter how facile may arouse a new interest in scientific subjects. Forgive me for expressing my interest. And thank you again. Julia Melv

  • St Andrews Special Collections
    St Andrews Special Collections
    Friday 7 February 2014, 4.34pm

    Thanks for this, Julia! We have several prize books in our collection given by the University around that time period. If you'd ever like to bring yours in for comparison I'm sure we could get a few out.


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