The Sciences Library has a spooky new exhibit, just in time to celebrate Halloween. Come check out our Haunted Laboratory exhibit! Many thanks to the Museum of Natural History for the loan of spine-chilling items from their collections.
We’ve all heard the story about Newton and the apple, but how did Newton really come to understand gravity? Our exhibit describes Newton’s life and work, with an emphasis on the Universal Law of Gravitation and its evolution over time. Many thanks to the Department of Physics & Astronomy for loaning us several items for the exhibit, including an antique refracting telescope and a prism like the one used in Newton’s famous light refraction experiments.
To learn more about Newton and his Universal Law of Gravitation, ask a librarian or check out these excellent resources:
Our new exhibit at the Sciences Library celebrates the life of Albert Einstein and the 100th anniversary of his general theory of relativity, presented for the first time in 1915.
The exhibit explains the general theory of relativity and its significance to modern physics. It also provides some interesting background information about his life and family.
To learn more about the general theory of relativity, ask a librarian or check out these cool websites:
We’ve installed a new exhibit at the Sciences Library, just in time for Halloween!
The Science of Frankenstein explores the scientific practices that inspired Mary Shelley’s famous novel, Frankenstein.
Victor Frankenstein collected body parts for his monster through body snatching, a common, though gruesome, practice of the time. Historically, a shortage of cadavers available for medical students created an industry of enterprising thieves who would prowl graveyards for recently buried corpses to sell for medical research. The corpses allowed medical students to learn more about the internal organs of the body and how they work as well as giving doctors the opportunity to improve amputation techniques.
Dr. Frankenstein used electricity to reanimate an assembly of body parts to create his monster. This was based on the 18th century work with electricity by surgeon Luigi Galvani, physicist Alessandro Volta, and Galvani’s nephew, Giovanni Aldini.
While dissecting a frog near a dissection machine, Galvani’s assistant touched a scalpel to a nerve in the frog’s leg, and the leg jumped! Galvani believed this was evidence of “animal electricity” which came from the frog itself.
Volta replicated Galvani’s experiments, but arrived at different conclusions. He believed the jumping leg was caused by a bimetallic arc, rather than animal electricity.
Aldini built on the work of his uncle and Volta and toured the capitals of Europe to demonstrate the medical benefits of electricity by electrifying the corpses of executed criminals, making them twitch and in some cases, sit up.
It would not be hard for a creative woman, like Mary Shelley, to extend this research and imagine a day when science might succeed in reanimating the dead. To learn more, come check out the exhibit now on display at the Sciences Library!