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Mordechai Feingold
California Institute of Technology

Blackboards, Illustrations, and Models: The Materiality of Higher Education Instruction in the Pre-Modern Era

On July 19, 1595, while lecturing on astronomy in the Protestant seminary school at Graz, Johannes Kepler had an epiphany. As he recalled in the Mysterium cosmographicum, “When I was going to show my audience the leaps of the great conjunctions…I inscribed many triangles, or quasi-triangles, in the same circle, so that the end of one was the beginning of another.” The emerging pattern led Kepler to conceive a Platonic solid model of the solar system. Kepler failed to inform his readers on what he drew his triangles; consequently, few scholars thought it necessary to speculate on the nature of such a surface. Seeking to redress such neglect, Professor Feingold’s presentation seeks to underscore the importance of classroom “furniture” for better appreciation of the contribution of early modern institutions of higher learning to the dissemination and to the advancement of scientific knowledge.

Tuesday, February 22, 12:15 pm
Via Zoom

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Mordechai Feingold is the Van Nuys Page Professor of the History of Science and the Humanities at the California Institute of Technology. He is the author of a number of books, including The Newtonian Moment: Isaac Newton and the Making of Modern Culture (2004) and Newton and the Origin of Civilization (2013), written with Jed Buchwald.

A Zoom link will be circulated to registrants by 10 am on the day of the event. This event will be live with automatic captions.