Thursday, August 02, 2007

"Hooke's Books" at NLM

From Stephen Greenberg, Coordinator of Public Services for the History of Medicine Division at the National Library of Medicine:

"The History of Medicine Division (HMD) of the National Library of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit, 'Hooke's Books: Books that Influenced or Were Influenced by Robert Hooke's Micrographia.' It is located in display cases in the HMD Reading Room, on the first floor of Building 38, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. The exhibit is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., through November 1, 2007.

Robert Hooke (1635-1703) was a remarkably versatile man - artist, biologist, physicist, engineer, architect, inventor, and more. However, his crowning glory was Micrographia: or Some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies made by Magnifying Glasses, first published 1665. It was a masterpiece - an exquisitely illustrated introduction to the previously unknown microscopic world. This exhibit focuses on Hooke's influences and legacy in print, the pioneering books that stimulated Hooke's research, and the works he left for others - most famously the great Dutch microscopist, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723).

The exhibit features a selection of books from the NLM collection, plus a facsimile of Hooke's own microscope. It is a companion to NLM's latest 'Turning the Pages' production, a digital selection from Micrographia, which can be viewed here."

Micrographia is one of my very favorite books; I have a facsimile reprint, but there's nothing quite like looking at this in the original (the digital version at NLM will give you a good idea of why this book is so exciting). This sounds like a fun and very interesting exhibit, so if you're near Bethesda it might be worth a visit.