Whether or not you deem yourself a science enthusiast, all of us have heard the names Copernicus, Kepler (or Galileo at least). Scientists. All who changed the way we see the universe – they changed how one understood humanity.
‘Discovering the History of Astronomy – Scientists who changed the way we see the Universe’, is a six book collection starting with Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler and Galileo:
- De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (Nicolaus Copernicus)
- Astronomiae instauratae mechanica (Tycho Brahe)
- Astronomia Nova (Johannes Kepler)
- Harmonices Mundi (Johannes Kepler)
- Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo (Galileo Galilei)
- Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche intorno a due nuove scienze (Galileo Galilei)
(All will be translated from Latin/Italian into English).
We are creating a ‘galaxy’ of books – each one inspired by a different planet. With that metaphor in mind – special printing techniques have been applied to the cover of each book to reflect the planet they represent and create an experience for the reader, as they discover the title of each book.
Book 1: De revolutionibus orbium coelestium
We can consider Nicolaus Copernicus’ De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (1543) as the beginning of the Scientific Revolution.
The book is his major work and where he described his heliocentric theory. According to this theory – the Earth was not at the center, but Earth and planets move around the Sun.
Copernicus maintained that the Sun was at the center of the system, although he was wrongly defending a circular orbit. However, the idea that the earth moved around the sun was questioned by most of Copernicus’ contemporaries.
We have linked Copernicus’ book to Mercury, as it’s the first book within our collection. Mercury is a hot planet so part of the title is covered with thermochromic ink. As heat is applied by placing your finger across the black ink – the full title begins to emerge.
Book 2: Astronomiae instauratae mechanica
Tycho Brahe was a Danish astronomer, a great observer. His accurate observations helped Johannes Kepler to publish his theory of elliptical planet orbits instead of the circular ones that people believed them to be. Brahe was considered the greatest observer of the sky in the period before the invention of the telescope.
Tycho thought that progress in astronomy could not be achieved by occasional observation and spot investigations, but that systematic measurements were needed night-after-night, using the most precise instruments possible. He created a lot of instruments for his work and needs.
Those inventions were described in the book Astronomiae instauratae mechanica, with beautiful engineering illustrations. The instruments designed by Brahe allowed him to measure the positions of stars and planets with a precision far superior to that of the time. He was able to make a precise star catalog of more than 1000 stars. Since then, his scientific instruments have been widely copied in Europe.
We have linked Brahe’s book to Venus, as Venus is the brightest planet. The use of phosphorescent ink over the cover, means that in the dark, the title is revealed.
Book 3: Astronomia Nova
Published in 1609, Astronomia Nova, is recognized as one of the most important works of the scientific revolution.
In this book, Kepler’s first two laws of planetary movement are presented, which was a major change in astronomy. Results of his investigations appear over more than ten years on the movement of the planets.
In Astronomia nova, Kepler introduced the idea of elliptical orbits.
We have linked Astronomia Nova to Earth. Earth is the planet of life, of growth. To discover the title of this book, you ‘remove’ part of the cover. You can then plant the removed piece into the earth and grow a plant, as the material we use is mixed with real seeds.
Book 4: Harmonices Mundi
In Harmonices Mundi (1619) Kepler tries to explain the planetary movements based on a geometric model of proportions between different polyhedra, relating these with musical scales. Kepler explained in this work his theory that each planet produces a musical tone during its revolutionary movement around the Sun and that the frequency of the tone varies with the angular velocity of the planets. According to Kepler, the planets produce constant musical notes.
The ‘musical’ theory was discarded, but gave us a beautiful book with illustrated musical notes and more importantly, the first formulation of the third-law of planetary movement.
We linked Harmonices Mundi to Mars. Since Mars is the red planet, we use a red paper with abundance, which simulates the craters of the planet.
Book 5: Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo
Published in 1632 and written in the form of a dialogue between several characters in Italian, the author attacks the geocentric model of Ptolemy’s solar system and defends the Copernican heliocentric model.
Galileo was accused and judged by the church for holding the belief, considered heretical, that the Earth moves around the Sun. The Inquisition prohibited the works that affirmed the centrality of the Sun and the mobility of the Earth, the Copernicus’ De Revolutionibus was also prohibited, and they prohibited Galileo from teaching or defending, nor how to hypothesis or as truth, the Copernican doctrine.
The dialogue takes place in Venice during 4 days, where three interlocutors discuss the ptolemeic system and the copernican. The book is not neutral, but clearly defends heliocentrism, with different arguments.
The three characters are:
- Filippo Salviati: he is a copernican, refers to a Florentine nobleman who met Galileo in 1611.
- Gianfrancesco Sagredo: he is a neutral personage, but in fact he is let convince by Salviati. He is the friend of the soul of Galileo, known from his time in Venice. Is the host of the meeting.
- Simplicius: represents ptolemaic thinking.
We linked Dialogo to Jupiter. Jupiter is a very gaseous planet. To connote this idea, the title is hidden behind a translucent sheath that lets the reader take a glimpse into the title.
Book 6: Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche intorno a due nuove scienze
Published in 1638, also written in the form of a dialogue between the same characters, Galileo collects his research on kinematics and science of the materials made throughout his life. It is considered the foundational book of modern physics and more specifically kinematics.
It was written during the confinement suffered by Galileo in Arcetri as a result of the Inquisition’s condemnation for having written the book Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo.
Isaac Newton after expressing the three basic principles of dynamics, points out that these principles derive from Galileo’s experiments and theories on free-fall movements and on an inclined plane and on the two-dimensional movement, such as the launch of the projectiles. Topics of Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche intorno a due nuove scienze.
We linked Discorsi to Saturn. The main feature of Saturn is its great ring. For this reason, what will hide the title of the book, will be the several rubber bands that surround it.
This is a work in progress project. The Astronomy collection will launch in 2021 due to COVID-19.