Science Is Fun

I never thought I’d be a fan of science books —until I read Mary Roach’s work and found myself laughing my head off. Apparently I am not alone. If you have yet to be introduced to her work, now is the time, since Packing For Mars has been selected to be this year’s One City One Book title.

I never thought rare science books would be an interest of mine either, but stumbling across Cosmographia in our Rare Book Room changed that too. Did you know that over 400 years ago, people were making “pop up” books, not for fun and amusement, but for scientific calculations?

Libraries are designed for making discoveries and are elegantly arranged for such first-encounters. I humbly realized I was not the first person to be intrigued with Petrus Apianus’s gem of a book when I wandered online upon the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford, England.  Their extensive research on Cosmographia is light-years beyond my own. Take a look.

Cosmgraphia, courtesy of The Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, England.

Now I seek out this science-stuff and must recommend that you visit the Huntington Library’s Beautiful Science exhibition either virtually or in person. You will be dazzled by the things you’d expect to see. But first-encounter discoveries are guaranteed as well. Be amazed by the fascinating life and work of Maria Sibylla Merian, a German woman who traveled to Suriname in 1699 to paint as many tropical insect species as possible—explore and enjoy.

Chrysalis : Maria Sibylla Merian and the secrets of metamorphosis by Kim Todd.

One more recent scientific find of mine is History & Special Collections at UCLA’s Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library.  They’ve created a wonderful online exhibit called Spices: Exotic Flavors & Medicines which you can savor here.

Courtesy of UCLA’s History & Special Collections at the Biomedical Library

Afterward, make a point of visiting the library this month and enjoy any of the fun, science-inspired events celebrating Mary Roach’s entertaining writings.

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