Forthcoming 2014 Crawford Lecture in the History of Astronomy

It is a great pleasure to announce that the 2014 Crawford Lecture in the History of Astronomy and Astrology this year will be delivered by Professor Jim Bennett, Former Director of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford. Its title is:

The Craft of Early Astronomy: Making Books, Globes and Instruments in the Sixteenth Century

Abstract: Astronomy is understandably considered the most theoretically advanced of the sciences in the Renaissance. To engage seriously with astronomy required an advanced ability in mathematics. Yet many leading astronomers were directly engaged with the production of books and instruments. In aspects of their work they were printers and makers. This lecture approaches sixteenth-century astronomy from the unusual perspective of craft practice. The Crawford Collection and other resources in libraries and museums demonstrate that early astronomy was crafted as well as reasoned.

It will take place on 30 April 2014, at 5:30 p.m. in the Teviot Lecture Theatre, Teviot Place, The University of Edinburgh. The lecture will be followed by a small reception. All welcome.

The lecture is free but ticketed. Information on the location and how to book your ticket can be found at:

For any further information, please do not hesitate to contact Dr Monica Azzolini:

Free poster at: Crawford_Lecture_Bennett_A4_web

2013 Crawford Lecture in the History of Astronomy

Portrait of Galileo Galilei by Justus Susterma...

Portrait of Galileo Galilei by Justus Sustermans painted in 1636. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is a little announcement for those of you who happen to live (or be) in Scotland next week! The event is ticketed but free. If you cannot come, do check our Crawford Lecture page for a podcast in about a month’s time!


“Galileo, the Telescope and the Renaissance Culture of Glass” by Professor Sven Dupré (Freie Universität Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science).

When: 7 May 2013 at 5.30pm. Where: Teviot Lecture Theatre, Doorway 5, Old Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG.

Reception to follow.

Everything has a beginning…

So, here we are. A new blog. About what, you may ask? About the history of the science of the stars, namely astronomy and astrology as they were understood and practiced in early modern times. The idea for this blog comes from my own research interests and my move to Edinburgh in 2007. Edinburgh has, you see, one of the most remarkable libraries for the study of the history of astronomy. What is even more remarkable is that very few people know that. This collection was donated to the Scottish Nation in 1888 and has been housed in the Royal Observatory on Blackford Hill ever since. If you want to know more about it, you can go to our dedicated page on the Crawford Collection. You will find out why it carries the name Crawford, how the collection came to be donated to the Observatory, and a little bit about its generous donor. The discovery of this amazing resource prompted me to organise a series of events to better publicise it, in the hope that this would lead to a more active exploration of its resources by historians of science like myself. The result is the Crawford Project, which comprises a series of events that have the stated aim of showcasing the collection and making the history of astronomy (and astrology) a regular feature of Edinburgh’s intellectual life. You will learn more about the events that took place since 2008 in a related page. Here you will find details of the international workshop that took place in 2008 and the series of lectures that have been organised since. Each annual lecture is delivered by a distinguished historian of science: the topic varies from year to year but it is related to books (and authors) housed in the Crawford Collection. Each lecture is accompanied by a beautiful poster and has been recorded. So, even if you missed the lecture or you do not live in Edinburgh (and many of you will not!) you can listen to its podcast.

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