Antique Science Book Heaven

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons


The National Library of Medicine has just scanned six classic science and medicine books from the 15th and 16th centuries and posted them at Turning the Pages Online.

Check out Robert Hooke’s Micrographiaor Conrad Gesner’s Historiae Animalium… or the kinky dissections in Andreas Vesalius’s De Humani Corporis Fabrica.

Each book is laden with gorgeous illustrations, many surprisingly accurate.

You can view each book as a book, turn the pages digitally, lean in and smell that heady perfume of vellum and binary code.

Plus there are audio files to listen to, and pop-up windows offering translations and interpretations. It’s awesome.

Okay, I’ll be back in a year or so. I’ve always wanted to read Johannes de Ketham’s Fasiculo de Medicina in Latin.

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  • Julia Whitty is the environmental correspondent for Mother Jones. Her latest book is Deep Blue Home: An Intimate Ecology of Our Wild Ocean. For more of her stories, click here.