Johann Schreck: Galileo’s Friend in China

How did knowledge spread in Galileo’s world?

Johann Schreck joined the Jesuit order in 1611, the same year that he used Galileo’s telescope to observe the satellites of Jupiter. Upon becoming a Jesuit, Schreck joined the Jesuit mission in China, taking with him a scientific library of approximately 7,000 volumes as well as a Galilean telescope. Schreck’s story is the beginning of a century-long exchange of scientific ideas between Europe and Asia. 

Exhibit object: Johann Schreck, Ensei kiki zusetsu rokusai


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Galileo and Kepler

Exhibit GuideGalileo’s World at a Glance
Gallery at the Exhibit Website
Location: National Weather Center.

Who was Kepler, and why was a telescope named after him?

The Kepler space telescope launched in March, 2009, to search for terrestrial planets around other suns. One month later, five Jupiter-like planets had been discovered. As of 2015, the Kepler telescope has discovered a total of more than 1,000 confirmed planets. OU’s Kepler collection includes all 11 major works published during his lifetime and a large number of his minor works. In his immediate response to Galileo’s telescopic discoveries, Kepler suggested that unknown planets might exist, and might be inhabited.

Section 1: Kepler

Ancient Greek astronomy was based on the principle of uniform circular motion. Copernicus based his astronomical system on a strict enforcement of this principle, rejecting all compromises. For Galileo, also, planets moved in perfect circles. It is difficult today to imagine the hold which the ideal of uniform circular motion exerted upon the western astronomical tradition. In his “new astronomy,” Kepler employed motion that was neither circular nor uniform. Kepler’s bold originality disrupted the entire tradition of Greek astronomy from Plato to Copernicus and Galileo.

How vast and original Kepler’s contributions were, not only to astronomy but also in other fields, reaching to meteorology, mathematics, geology, mineralogy and crystallography. The German philosopher Immanuel Kant called Kepler “the most acute intellect” who ever lived. Kepler’s boundless curiosity, enthusiasm, originality, creativity and humble self-discipline shine through his works and make them a delight to read today.

  1. Johann Kepler, Dissertatio cum Sidereo (Frankfurt, 1611), “Conversation on Galileo’s Starry Messenger”
  2. John Wilkins, A Discovery of a New World… in the Moon (London, 1684)
  3. Johann Kepler, Astronomia nova (Heidelberg, 1609), “The New Astronomy”
  4. Johann Kepler, Dioptrice (Augsburg, 1611), “Optics of Lenses”
  5. Johann Kepler, Strena, seu de nive sexangula (Frankfurt on Main, 1611), “On the Snowflake, or the Six-Angled Crystal”
  6. Johann Kepler, Tabulae Rudolphinae (Gorlitz, 1627), “The Rudolphine Tables”
  7. Johann Kepler, Wilhelm Schickard and Matthias Bernegger, Epistolae (Strasburg, 1672 & 1673), “Letters”
  8. Johann Kepler and Jacob Bartsch, Admonitio ad astronomos (Frankfurt, 1630), “Admonition to Astronomers”
  9. Maria Cunitz, Urania propitia (Oels, 1650), “The Generous Muse of the Heavens”
Further reading:
  • Stillman Drake, Galileo: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2001; originally printed 1983 in the Past Masters series), discussion guide.
  • James Voelkel, Johannes Kepler and the New Astronomy (Oxford, 1999)
  • Max Caspar, Kepler (Dover, 1993)
Curators: Kerry Magruder and Brent Purkaple. Links are to the Exhibit Guide, also available from the iBook Store. Open Educational Resources are available at and ShareOK.
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Galileo and Experimentation

Exhibit GuideGalileo’s World at a Glance
Gallery at the Exhibit Website
Location: National Weather Center.

How do new instruments extend sensory perception, facilitate new experiments, shape new conceptions, raise new questions and promote quantitative methods?

Galileo’s empirical investigations and innovative scientific instruments opened up new worlds of discovery. His thermoscope facilitated quantitative comparison of temperatures throughout the year and under varying circumstances. When Ferdinand II de Medici founded the Academy of Experiment, or Accademia del Cimento, in Florence, the further investigations of Galileo’s successors using the thermometer, barometer and air pump led to advances in meteorology, physics, chemistry and cosmology.

Section 1: Academy of Experiments

Innovative scientific instruments, from Galileo’s telescope to his thermoscope, seemed almost like natural magic in the ways they opened up new worlds of discovery.  These instruments manifested phenomena never perceived by the senses before, wonders that seemed contrary to common experience.  

Galileo’s thermoscope made it possible to refute a then-widespread belief that well water becomes warmer in the winter than in the summer. Well water does seem warmer in the winter, once our senses grow accustomed to colder temperatures, but the thermoscope demonstrated that it is actually colder in the winter than in the summer. 

The barometer revealed how to measure the specific weight of the atmosphere as it presses down upon us.  A friend of Galileo’s reported that it was impossible to siphon water over a hill more than 32 feet high.  Despite persistent, baffling attempts, it proved impossible to pump water any higher.  Galileo’s student Torricelli interpreted this unexpected phenomenon of hydraulics in terms of a balance weighing the atmosphere. The atmosphere pushes down with a pressure that can lift a weight equivalent to a column of water 32 feet high. Galileo suggested that Torricelli use mercury instead of water, which reduced the height of the barometer to less than 800 millimeters.

At mid-century, Otto Von Guericke demonstrated his air-pump before a crowd of eyewitnesses at Magdeburg by evacuating two 20-inch diameter hemispheres.  The pressure of the atmosphere held the hemispheres together so strongly that four pairs of horses in harness together on each side could not pull them apart.  This “miracle at Magdeburg,” first reported by Gaspar Schott in 1657, was explained in Guericke’s Experimenta Nova (1672).

Experimental use of instruments like the thermometer, barometer and air pump promoted a new way of doing science in which meteorology often led the way.

  1. Hero of Alexandria, Spiritalium liber (Urbini, 1575), trans. Federico Commandino, “The Book on Air”
  2. Galileo Galilei, Discorso Intorno alle Cose, che Stanno in su l’Acqua (Florence, 1612), 1st ed., “Discourse on Floating Bodies”
  3. Arturo Pannochieschi, Considerazioni sopra il Discorso del Sig. Galileo (Pisa, 1612), “Considerations on Galileo’s Discourse on Floating Bodies”
  4. Galileo (Benedetto Castelli), Risposta alle Opposizioni del S. Lodovico delle Colombe (Florence, 1615), “Response to the Opposition of Lodovico delle Colombe”
  5. Galileo Thermoscope replica (Museo Galileo)
  6. Accademia del Cimento, Saggi di Naturali Esperienze (Florence, 1666), “Essays on Natural Experiences”
  7. Accademia del Cimento, Saggi di Naturali Esperienze (Florence, 1667), “Essays on Natural Experiences”
  8. Accademia del Cimento, Saggi di Naturali Esperienze (Naples, 1701), “Essays on Natural Experiences”
  9. Blaise Pascal, Traitez de l’Equilibre des Liqueurs (Paris, 1663), “Treatise on the Equilibrium of Fluids”
  10. Gaspar Schott, Technica Curiosa (Nuremberg, 1664), “Curious Technology”
  11. Otto von Guericke, Experimenta nova (Amsterdam, 1672), “New Experiments”
  12. Robert Boyle, New Experiments Physico-Mechanicall, Touching the Spring of the Air (Oxford, 1660)
  13. Isaac Newton, Opticks (London, 1704)
  14. Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis, “Sur les Équations du Mouvement Relatif des Systèmes de Corps,” Journal de l’Ecole Royale Polytechnique (Paris, 1835), vol. 15, pp. 144-154., “On the Equations of the Relative Movement of Systems of Bodies”
Further reading:
  • Stillman Drake, Galileo: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2001; originally printed 1983 in the Past Masters series), discussion guide.
  • John Heilbron, Galileo (Oxford, 2010)
  • Matteo Valerian, Galileo: Engineer (Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science, Springer, 2008)
Curators: Kerry Magruder and Brent Purkaple. Links are to the Exhibit Guide, also available from the iBook Store. Open Educational Resources are available at and ShareOK.
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Space Science after Galileo

Exhibit GuideGalileo’s World at a Glance
Gallery at the Exhibit Website
Location: National Weather Center.

What is it like to explore the heavens?

With his telescope, Galileo discovered mountains on the Moon, four satellites of Jupiter, the phases of Venus, dark spots tracking across the face of the Sun, the enigmatic “ears” of Saturn, and countless stars that were invisible to the unaided eye. These discoveries created a new era for investigations of the Sun, planets, space and stars.

Section 1: Sun

Galileo inaugurated the era of telescopic solar observation. Galileo’s detailed, full-page copperplate engravings set a new standard for presenting evidence about the Sun. With Galileo, detailed visual representations became essential to space science. Galileo’s study of sunspots is a masterpiece of data visualization. The spots move together. They move slowly, each taking about a month to travel across the solar disk. Their shape is irregular; they form and disappear with irregular timing. The spots foreshorten as they approach the edge of the solar disk. All this proves they lie on or very near the surface, and are not little planets. Sunspots therefore suggest that the Sun and the heavens are corruptible, a tenet contrary to Aristotle but already accepted by some scientists and theologians.

  1. Galileo, Istoria e Dimostrazioni Intorno alle Macchie Solari (Rome, 1613), “Letters on Sunspots”
  2. Christoph Scheiner, Rosa Ursina (Bracciani, 1630), “The Rose of Orsini”

Section 2: Planets

In the late 20th century, spaceships and planetary probes began to reach the Moon and other bodies of the solar system. Voyagers from Earth include the Galileo mission to Jupiter and the Cassini spacecraft to Saturn, which carried the Huygens planetary probe. These missions bear the names of early space scientists. Galileo, Cassini and Huygens, architects of planetary science, provided the first sketches of the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Others investigated the Earth in relation to the cosmos, discerned additional planetary satellites, and discovered unexpected solar system objects unknown to the ancients.

  1. Galileo, Sidereus nuncius (Venice, 1610), photograph of Jupiter’s satellites
  2. Christiaan Huygens, Systema Saturnium (The Hague, 1659), “The System of Saturn”
  3. Christiaan Huygens, The Celestial Worlds Discover’d, or, Conjectures concerning the Inhabitants, Plants and Productions of the Worlds in the Planets (London, 1698)
  4. Giovanni Domenico Cassini, Martis circa axem proprium (Bologna, 1666); De aliis Romanis observationibus macularum Martis (Bologna, 1666); De Periodo quotidianae revolutionis Martis (Bologna, 1666), “Observations in Bologna of the rotation of Mars around its axis”
  5. Edmond Halley, “Astronomiae cometicae synopsis,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (London, 1705)
  6. Louis Agassiz, Études sur les Glaciers (Neuchatel, 1840), “Studies on Glaciers”
  7. Joseph Alphonse Adhémar, Revolutions de la Mer (Paris, 1842), “Revolutions of the Sea”

Section 3: Space

Newton integrated Galileo’s terrestrial physics and Kepler’s laws of the heavens into a universal theory of gravitation, prompting new reflections on the nature of the universe itself. The example of “nebulae” illustrates these changes. The word “nebulae” meant “clouds” to Latin meteorologists, yet it came to refer to misty clouds in the heavens revealed by telescopes but not easily resolved. Some of these nebulae came to be understood as vast clouds of interstellar gas, sites of the birth and death of stars. Others came to be known as galaxies in deep space, constantly receding in every direction from our own Milky Way. Developments like these might seem to vindicate Copernicus who exclaimed, “So vast, without any question, is the divine handiwork of the most excellent Almighty,” in one of the sentences of De revolutionibus censored by the Inquisition in 1616.

  1. Isaac Newton, Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica (London, 1713), 2d ed.
  2. Isaac Newton, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (London, 1729)
  3. Isaac Newton, A Treatise of the System of the World (London, 1728)
  4. Thomas Wright, An Original Theory or New Hypothesis of the Universe (London, 1750)
  5. Charles Messier, “Catalogue des Nébuleuses et des Amas d’Étoiles,” Memoires Academie Royale des Sciences pour 1771 (Paris, 1774), pp. 435ff., “Catalogue of Nebulae and Star Clusters”
  6. Caroline Herschel, Memoir and Correspondence (London, 1876)
  7. Otto Boeddicker, The Milky Way… drawn at the Earl of Rosse’s Observatory at Birr Castle (London, 1892)
  8. Edwin Hubble, The Realm of the Nebulae (New Haven, 1936)

Section 4: Stars

Galileo discovered more than 100 unsuspected stars when he turned his telescope toward Orion the Hunter and Taurus the Bull. Ever since, the number of known stars has continued to increase. Ptolemy described 48 constellations in the Almagest; currently there are 88 officially-recognized constellations. Galileo inscribed the OU copy of the Starry Messenger to a poet. The human experience of the night sky has always combined scientific and imaginative aspects. Albert Einstein recognized the creativity at the heart of major scientific leaps when he wrote, “imagination is more important than knowledge.” Art, music, literature and astronomy merge in a creative and ongoing exploration of the stars and constellations.

  1. Galileo, Sidereus nuncius (Venice, 1610), photograph of star fields
  2. Galileo, Sidereus nuncius (Venice, 1610), photograph of title page, inscribed by author
  3. Hesiod, Opera (Frankfurt, 1559), “Works of Hesiod”
  4. Aratus, Phenomena (Basel, 1547), “Appearances of the Skies”
  5. Hyginus, Poeticon astronomicon (Venice, 1485), “Astronomical Poem”
  6. Abu Ma’shar, Introductorium in astronomiam (Augsburg, 1489), “Introduction to Astronomy”
  7. Prose de’ Signori Accademici Gelati (Bologna, 1671), “Essays by the Members of the Academy of Gelati”
  8. Vincenzo Coronelli, Epitome Cosmografica (Cologne, 1693), “Representing the Heavens”
  9. Edmond Halley, Catalogus stellarum australium (London, 1679), “Catalogue of Southern Stars”
  10. Nicolas Lacaille, “Planisphere contenant les Constellations Celestes,” Memoires Academie Royale des Sciences pour 1752 (Paris, 1756)
  11. John Flamsteed, Atlas Celeste (Paris, 1776), ed. J. Fortin, “Celestial Atlas”
  12. J. E. Bode, Vorstellung der Gestirne (Berlin, 1782), “Atlas of the Stars”
  13. Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Poems (London, 1843), 2 vols.
  14. Lord Byron, Works (London, 1815-1824), 11 vols., ”Works”
  15. Percy Bysshe Shelley, Poetical Works (London, 1876-1877), 4 vols.
  16. Robert Frost, “The Star-Splitter,” New Hampshire (New York, 1923)
  17. Urania’s Mirror (London 1825), a boxed set of 32 cards; with Jehoshaphat Aspin, A Familiar Treatise on Astronomy (London 1825), 2d ed.
Further reading:
  • Dava Sobel, Galileo’s Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love (Walker, 1999)
  • Stillman Drake, Galileo: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2001; originally printed 1983 in the Past Masters series), discussion guide.
  • John Heilbron, Galileo (Oxford, 2010)
  • William B. Ashworth, Jr., Out of This World: The Golden Age of the Celestial Atlas, An Exhibition of Rare Books from the Collection of the Linda Hall Library, with supplement Further Out (printed catalogs; online exhibit)
  • Chet Raymo, 365 Starry Nights (Simon & Schuster, 1990)
Curators: Kerry Magruder and Brent Purkaple.
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Galileo and Sports

Exhibit GuideGalileo’s World at a Glance
Gallery at the Exhibit Website
Location: Headington Hall, University of Oklahoma, Athletics Department.

What would Coach Galileo say?

How many Athletic Departments buy rare books for their university libraries? Three years in a row, the Sooners have contributed a rare book to the OU Libraries Galileo collection: In 2014, the major book of Galileo’s father, a prominent music theorist; in 2013, a beautiful work on perspective drawing by Lorenzo Sirigatti, which Galileo studied; and in 2012, a handwritten manuscript of lectures by the leading astronomer in Rome during Galileo’s telescopic discoveries, never before published and new to scholars. The Galileo’s World exhibition is a way of saying thank you to the OU Sooners for bringing these rare treasures home to Oklahoma.

Section 1: Coach Galileo

  1. Andreas Vesalius, De humani corporis fabrica (Basel, 1545), 2d ed., “On the Fabric of the Human Body”
  2. Girolamo Mercuriale, De arte gymnastica (Paris, 1577), “The Art of Gymnastics”
  3. Giovanni Borelli, De motu animalium (Leiden, 1685), “On the Motion of Animals”
  4. John Pugh, A Treatise on Muscular Action (London, 1794)
  5. Galileo, Discorsi à Due Nuove Scienze, in Opera (Bologna, 1656), 2 vols.,”Discourse on Two New Sciences”
  6. Baldassarre Castiglione, The Courtier (London, 1724)
Further reading:
  • Stillman Drake, Galileo: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2001; originally printed 1983 in the Past Masters series), discussion guide.
  • Dava Sobel, Galileo’s Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love (Walker, 1999)
  • Maurice Finocchiaro, The Essential Galileo (Hackett, 2008)
Curators: Kerry Magruder and Brent Purkaple. Links are to the Exhibit Guide, also available from the iBook Store. Open Educational Resources are available at and ShareOK.
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Checklist – Galileo 1st Editions

Exhibit Guide

Coming to see Galileo’s World?

Download the Galileo 1st editions checklist flyer from this page or pick one up at the Welcome desk on the 5th floor of Bizzell Memorial Library, then check off the Galileo 1st editions you see.

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Galileo’s World visit plan (Fall 2018)

Exhibit Guide

  • Watch the introductory video to gain an overall understanding of the exhibit’s setting and theme:
    • Theme:  “Connections.”  Explanation:  Galileo’s World is not about Galileo per se, it’s about his world (accent on the second word rather than the first).  But more than that, it’s about the juxtaposition of two worlds:  the world of Galileo with the world of OU today.  The aim of the exhibit was to constantly ask how student experience today can recreate that special creativity we find in Tuscany 400 years ago.  The answer is by recreating disciplinary connections.
  • Participatory:  Always emphasize student participation; participation = “co-creation of knowledge and meaning.”  Cf. Exhibit Design.
    Three chief examples, not planned by OU Libraries:  

    • OU Tower of Pisa. More than 20 College of Engineering students created it after first going to Pisa to study the tower in its original setting of Renaissance engineering, art and architecture.
    • Orfeo by Monteverdi:  This early opera, produced by the OU School of Music, was directly influenced by the music theory of Galileo’s father.  20 years from now those students will remember Galileo’s World not for its science but for its music.
    • Galileo’s Torch:  The world premier of this play about Galileo’s trial was performed at OU, produced by the School of Drama.  During the previous semester, the playwright refined the play in dialogue with students in a screenwriters class.
  • Refer inquiries about tours and docent opportunities to Rachael.
    • We welcome class or group visits from third grade on up; any subject area; times limited so arrange well in advance.
    • We offer docent opportunities for students and others to volunteer in all kinds of ways (not merely leading tours).
    • Off-site visits are also possible for area schools and libraries.
  • Lynx Open Ed is our website for exhibit-based educational outreach:

Music of the Spheres

  • Galileo’s Dad — This is the book that led to the OU performance of Orfeo, by Monteverdi
  • Kepler, Harmony of the Universe.  First book to contain all three of what are now known as Kepler’s laws.  All three “laws” were expressed in musical notation.  Kepler was thinking musically.
  • Kepler’s suite (iPad kiosk).  Is this “cosmic dance” the way you think of astrophysics?  The historical relations between music and astronomy reinforce the exhibit’s interdisciplinary theme of “connections.”  

Galileo Engineer

  • Ramelli   
    • Galileo worked for the republic of Venice to refine and improve engineering designs like these.
    • Complex machines exposed the limits of understanding of motion.
    • Used by Schreck in China.
  • Galileo’s Compass.  
    • Ancestor to slide rule.  
    • Galileo’s first and rarest book. Example of OU’s Galileo collection (see Galileo editions handout at Welcome desk).


  • First publication of observations with a microscope.
  • From Galileo and Microscopy gallery at Sam Noble.
  • Rare!
  • Entertaining to read; not a long logical argument.
  • Download English translation from Lynx Open Ed.

Galileo and China

  • Schreck (with Learning Leaflet handout).  
    • A friend of Galileo’s became an engineer in China, and an advisor to the Chinese emperor.
  • In international relations, science isn’t enough; must also endeavor to understand the other culture.

Exploration Room

The Sky at Night (reprise)

  • Galileo, Starry Messenger 
    • First publication of observations with a telescope.  
    • Made Galileo an international celebrity almost overnight.  
    • OU copy only extant copy that is signed.
  • Hevelius star atlas   
    • Second of the four great “golden era” celestial atlases.  All four currently on display; once in a lifetime opportunity to see them all.  Atlas talk available here.
    • Designed to aid instrument-makers crafting celestial globes (like the Coronelli globe represented on walls).  Books = instruments.
    • Published by Elisabeth.  Completed by Elisabeth.  See Learning Leaflet.
  • Art and Astronomy walking tour (handout)
    • Sirigatti:  If you had drawn this before looking at the Moon, would you have understood better the way light and shadow plays on the lunar mountains through the telescope?

The Galileo Affair

  • Bode atlas:  4th of 4 “golden era” celestial atlases (with Learning Leaflet handout)
  • Galileo, Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina:  
    • How to interpret the Bible with respect to science. Consistent with Augustine and Thomas Aquinas.  Had theologians been true to their own principles, there would have been no controversy.  The Galileo Affair mixed politics, patronage and power struggles together in a complex story; not a simple conflict between science and religion.
  • Galileo, Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems.  
    • The book for which Galileo was put on trial.  
    • One of four 1st ed.’s annotated by Galileo.

Many other talking points are possible!  We customize every visit to the interests of the visitors.  These are starting points, an invitation to dive deeper:

  • Complete the scavenger hunt (available from the Welcome desk).  Become familiar with the other handouts at the Welcome desk.
  • Read all the wall graphics in each gallery of the exhibit hall (gallery reflection prompts, section intro’s, graphic panels).
  • Become familiar with the various handouts available throughout the exhibit hall.
  • Use the Exhibit at a Glance pages to dive deeper into any aspect of the exhibit.
  • During down-time at the desk, read a chapter at a time in the iBook Exhibit Guide (or the equivalent sections of the Exhibit at a Glance website).
  • Walk through the exhibit from time to time, and learn one new thing!

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Docent training sessions

Lynx Meetups are a series of docent training sessions, held roughly monthly on Saturday mornings. These meetings are for active docents and for people who are interested in becoming docents. Meetings typically last 90 minutes and include the following emphases:

  • A walk-through of some portion of the exhibit, with tips for touring it.
  • An activity of the month, suitable for incorporation into tours, typically related to the evening’s walk-through tips (complementing the Lynx Open Ed brown-bag series).
  • Discussion of a topic related to logistics, procedures, policies or other general considerations.
  • Social time to interact with and get to know other docents and staff.
  • For more information, see the Docent Manual (under Collaborate in the menubar), and follow us at
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Coloring Parties

A cross between an ancient library, a coffee-house and an old-fashioned literary salon:  

Come to color, come to converse, come to listen and to watch.  Coloring pages adapted from the rare books bring all subject area interests together, including science, literature, travel, art, music and storytelling.  

New coloring pages prepared from rare book illustrations or constellation illustrations will prepared for each coloring party.

While coloring, show and tell: Bring a poem, story or song about the theme to share. Bring photographs to project onto the large screen. Bring a drawing or work of art to show, or a photo of the theme as represented in a sculpture, building or painting. And browse the most popular introductions to the theme, and some children’s books, which we’ll have on hand.  (See the blog post on the August 2016 coloring party.)

Bring your own lunch, tea bags or k-cups. Amenities in Ptolemy’s Tea House include a microwave, an electric water kettle, a keurig-cup coffee maker, and an ice-machine with filtered water.


10:00 a.m. to noon
Coloring and social time (contact us ahead of time with your song requests for the starry night playlist that will be softly playing in the background).
11-11:30 a.m.
Optional guided “Sky at Night” exhibit tour by the curator.
Noon-1:30 p.m.
Sharing and starry night show & tell. Those who wish may of course continue coloring while listening and watching. Or eat a sack lunch.
1:30-2:00 p.m.
Find your constellations on the celestial globes and planispheres, or continue coloring (see Constellation Activities).
Come and go as you wish.

This event is designed for adults and mature youths.  Since space is limited, we encourage young children to come on different, dedicated occasions.  To schedule a docent-led group visit to Galileo’s World, including activities for kids from 3rd grade on up, see

Location:  Ptolemy’s Tea House, 5th floor, Bizzell Memorial Library, OU, Norman.  

Directions and hours.    Parking.

Details:  See the Galileo’s World meetup group and the events calendar here at

Cost is free.  OU Libraries, connecting people

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Charles Darwin, soil ecologist

The last work Darwin published is one of his least-known, but his study of mold and earthworms drew upon his broad interests. Far from being small and insignificant creatures, Darwin argued, earthworms turn over the soil in vast quantities, creating a suitable habitat for the growth of plants. Drawing upon some of his early geological work in the production of soils, this work represents a founding exemplar of quantitative ecology.

Like Darwin’s other books, it also contains interesting visual representations — for example, a tower of earthworm casts and diagrams showing the importance of mold in forming soil.

Charles Darwin, Formation of Vegetable Mould, Through the Action of Worms, 1881

Charles Darwin, Formation of Vegetable Mould, Through the Action of Worms, 1881

Read more about this book at Wikipedia.

Darwin@the Library info | Exhibit brochure (pdf)

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