Syllabus [SciRev Fall 2008]

For the Week of 9/17/08

Assignment 3

There have been several server crashes recently.  If you are having trouble getting onto the site, wait and try later.  I suggest you download and save the readings as quickly as you can.  The server invariably seems to be slow on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Information for the DŸrer show I mentioned is here:

It is a suggested donation of $4 for students.  Suggested means you could also pay a penny if you would rather.

Museum of Biblical Art

1865 Broadway at 61st Street

New York, NY

MOBIA is open six days a week
Tuesday - Wednesday: 10 am - 6 pm
Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday - Sunday: 10 am - 6 pm.


If you go to this here is a list of possible things you could pay particular attention to:

books and bindings, shoes, clothing, writing tools, tools in general, weapons, freaks of nature, suns and moons, how Albrecht DŸrer signs his prints. I looked closely at shoes this time around.


Examples of what you could do for some points:


Draw up show design you see in the prints and imagine how they might be constructed and what materials they might require. Are they task specific or are they just generic shoes?  Similar things could be done with the clothing or the furniture or the architecture or weaponsÉ These sorts of tasks make you look closely at the prints.  Even better is to draw a copy of a print.

You could also do a comparative study of the rhino as he depicted it and a real rhino.

You could analyze tree and or animal species in a few of his prints.

You could make up a story to go with the print called Melancholia that incorporates as many of the objects found in it as you can.

Do a comparative analysis of the Judases in the various prints.  What makes him Judas beyond just the bag of money?

You could also do something on the differences between engraving, woodcut, and etching and printing processes in general.


Anyone who needs a digital image of any of the prints they see at the show can email me, and IÕll send you whatever you need (within reason).

IÕll grant some extra credit to those who take on something from this show.  YouÕll receive a reasonable amount in relation to the amount of work you put into it.

These are usually referred to as the 5 Platonic solids, but they are also often called

 the Pythagorean solids or simply the 5 regular solids.

Detail from KeplerÕs Mysterium cosmographicum – diagram of the cosmos.  (1596)

Full Image Link (with translated details)

Early Kepler and Coffee



Read pp. pp. 227-316 in Koestler.


Read the following  parts of KeplerÕs Mysterium Cosmographicum (1596 was the 1st edition) in this PDF.  None of the major ideas from this book have lasted, but they are very interesting none the less. This particular copy is from the second edition which was published in 1621, after he had published his major astronomical books which contained his three planetary laws, which have lasted to this day. Look closely at and read PDF-pages 2, 8, 10-14, and 17-18.  Feel free to read over the other stuff contained in this PDF.



Read this article by Adrian Johns on printing and coffee:


[Sorry about the poor quality of this PDF.]




Here are citations to the readings for this week along with some additional sources that could be used for a souped-up homework.  Please feel free to use sources not listed in this bibliography.  This is by no means complete.  References in bold are available in the eLibrary.  Some of these seem by their titles to be unrelated to the topic at hand.  There is a relationship, donÕt worry.  DonÕt be afraid to delve into one of these that seems off in left field.  I also advise you to consider getting a souped-up homework (a long version) done asap, as this selection of souped-up material in particular is livelier than most.  Souped-up assignments take longer to do, so if you are not quite done with one by Thursday, I will probably allow a little more time.


Boner, Patrick J. "KeplerÕs Living Cosmology: Bridging the Celestial and Terrestrial Realms." Centaurus 48 (2006): pp. 32-39. Boner_KeplersLivingCosmos-60KB.pdf


Connor, James A. Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer's Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother. 1st ed. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 2004. Connor_KeplersWitchCh1-2.7MB.pdf [Highly recommended]


Darnton, Robert. "Workers Revolt: The Great Cat Massacre of the Rue Saint-SŽverin." In The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History, pp. 74-104. New York: Basic Books, 1984. Darnton_CatMassacrechapter120-3.9MB.pdf [Highly recommended]


Field, Judith V. "Astrology in Kepler's Cosmology." In Astrology, Science and Society: Historical Essays, ed. Patrick Curry, 143-170. Suffolk: Boydell Press, 1987. (Also in this PDF is an interesting article on how to astrologically read the forehead by A. Clarke.) Field-and-Clarke-Curry,ed._AstrologyScienceSociety-9.8MB.pdf


Field, Judith V. "Kepler's Rejection of Numerology." In Occult and Scientific Mentalities in the Renaissance, ed. Brian Vickers, pp. 273-296. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986. Field_KeplersRejectionOfNumerology-4.2MB.pdf


Field, J. V. Kepler's Geometrical Cosmology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.


Grafton, Anthony. "Kepler as Reader." Journal of the History of Ideas 53, no. 4 (1992): 561-572. [1.4 MB] Grafton_KeplerAsReader-1.4MB.pdf


Gouk, Penelope. "The Role of Harmonics in the Scientific Revolution." In The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory, ed. Thomas Street Christensen, pp. 223-245. Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001.  Gouk_HarmonicsInSciRev-2.6MB.pdf


Johns, Adrian. "Coffeehouses and Print Shops." In The Cambridge History of Science: Early Modern Science (1490-1730), ed. Katharine Park and Lorraine Daston, vol. 3, pp. 320-340. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. JohnsCoffeeHousesCh15_120-OCRd-2.5MB.pdf


Kepler, Johannes, and Edward Rosen. Kepler's Somnium; the Dream, or Posthumous Work on Lunar Astronomy. Madison,: University of Wisconsin Press, 1967. [Available on  This is KeplerÕs science fiction story about a trip to the moon.]


Kepler, Johannes, and E. J. Aiton. The Secret of the Universe (Mysterium Cosmographicum). Translated by A.M. Duncan and with introduction and commentary by E.J. Aiton and a preface by I. Bernard Cohen. New York: Abaris Books, 1981. Excerpts of this are contained in this PDF: Kepler_MystCosmoExcerptsSm-OCRd-imaged-5.9MB.pdf


Kepler, Johannes. The Harmony of the World (Harmonice Mundi). Translated by and commentary by E. J. Aiton, A. M. Duncan and J. V. Field. Philadelphia: The American Philosophical Society, 1997, first Latin ed. 1618.


Kepler, Johannes. The Six-Cornered Snowflake. Oxford,: Clarendon P., 1966.


Kepler, Johannes, and William H. Donahue. Optics: Paralipomena to Witelo & Optical Part of Astronomy. Santa Fe, N.M.: Green Lion Press, 2000.


Koestler, Arthur. The Sleepwalkers : A History of Man's Changing Vision of the Universe. New York: Macmillan, 1959.


Lindberg, David C. "The Beginnings of Western Science : The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, 600 B.C. To A.D. 1450." 220. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.


Lindberg, David C. "The Genesis of Kepler's Theory of Light: Light Metaphysics from Plotinus to Kepler." Osiris, 2nd Series 2 (1986): 4-42. Lindberg-KeplerTheoryofLight_Plotinus-1.4MB.pdf


Nicolson, Marjorie. "Kepler, the Somnium, and John Donne." Journal of the History of Ideas 1, no. 3 (1940): 259-280. Nicolson_KeplerSomniumDonne-660KB.pdf


Ptolemy. "Harmonics." In Greek Musical Writings II, ed. and trans. Andrew Barker, pp. 270-391. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984, original in Greek, 2nd century A.D.


Rabin, Sheila J. "Kepler's Attitude toward Pico and the Anti-Astrology Polemic." Renaissance Quarterly 50, no. 3 (1997): 750-770. Rabin_KeplerAttitude-PicoAnti-astrology-576KB.pdf


Rosen, Edward. "Kepler's Harmonics and His Concept of Inertia." American Journal of Physics 34, no. 7 (1966): 610-613.


Rosen, Edward. "Kepler's Early Writings." Journal of the History of Ideas 46, no. 3 (1985): 449-454. [212 KB] - Rosen_Keplersearlywritings-216KB.pdf


Rosen, Edward. "Kepler's Attitude toward Astrology and Mysticism." In Occult and Scientific Mentalities in the Renaissance, ed. Brian Vickers, pp. 253-272. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986. Rosen-KeplerAstrology-3.9MB.pdf


Schneer, Cecil. "Kepler's New Year's Gift of a Snowflake." Isis 51, no. 4 (1960): 531-545. Schneer_KeplerSnowflakeGift-2MB.pdf


Stephenson, Bruce. Kepler's Physical Astronomy. Princeton, N.J.: Springer, 1994.


Stephenson, Bruce. The Music of the Heavens : Kepler's Harmonic Astronomy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1994.


Trachtenberg, Marvin. "Architecture and Music Reunited: A New Reading of Dufay's Nuper Rosarum Flores and the Cathedral of Florence." Renaissance Quarterly LIV, no. 3 (2001): 741-773. [1.2 MB]


Wright, Craig. "Dufay's "Nuper Rosarum Flores", King Solomon's Temple, and the Veneration of the Virgin." Journal of the American Musicological Society 47, no. 3 (1994): pp. 395-427, 429-441. [1.2 MB]


Wright, Craig. "Reply to Charles Turner." Journal of the American Musicological Society 48, no. 1 (1995): 158.

Warren, Charles W. "Brunelleschi's Dome and Dufay's Motet." The Musical Quarterly 59, no. 1 (1973): pp. 92-105. [404 KB]

Review Material: posted 10/10/08







[Sorry for the size of this PDF.  I couldnÕt get it to shrink down.???]


Time for a break:




Back to Syllabus [SciRev Fall 2008]


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Interesting Science News


Brian Greene - The Origins of the Universe: A Crash Course – the super collider is up an running.