Today, our Astronomical Ideas class (taught by Desika Narayanan and I) had the luxury of meeting in Haverford’s Special Collections wing of the library. The precious nature of our holdings is only exceeded by the intellectual and personal generosity of the staff (namely Ann Upton and Sarah Horowitz, who we’ve worked with extensively) and by the philosophy of the department – These materials are meant to be interacted with.
Here, Sarah is explaining the motivation for the plates inserted into this first edition of Newton’s Principia:
Here is Enrico Fermi’s positive response to his invitation to visit Haverford College in the 1950′s, and an accompanying Haverford College newspaper article about the visit:
(As viewed over our 1st edition of Copernicus’s 1543 Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres) Students are enjoying the Principia and a 16th century book about sundials, that the library only recently received:
Edwin Schroedinger was a real card, as evidenced by this handwritten letter from him to Haverford’s president in the 1950′s. I’m not sure if he ever did accept Haverford’s invitation to visit:
Students gather around a first edition of Einstein’s general theory of relativity, as well as letters from Fermi and Schroedinger to Haverford, and a letter from Maria Mitchell about a borrowed sextant:
“What is that?” “That is Isaac Newton’s signature on a bill!” as other students casually flip through our Copernicus and Newton books: