OU Libraries Acquires Rare Grassi Manuscript
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Public Affairs, (405) 325-1701
NORMAN – A rare manuscript written by a leading astronomer in Rome at the height of Galileo’s astronomical discoveries recently was acquired by the University of Oklahoma’s History of Science Collections.
The newly acquired manuscript, Tractatus de sphaera, by Oratio Grassi records Grassi’s lectures in mathematics and astronomy. The Grassi manuscript is one of three works by Grassi to enhance OU’s Galileo collection this year. In two just-acquired printed books, Grassi discussed three comets that appeared in the sky in 1618.
“The Grassi manuscript is an important addition to the OU History of Science Collection, which is already recognized as among the small number of great collections in science in the world,” said OU President David L. Boren.
The Grassi manuscript is one of only a few astronomical manuscripts from the leading Jesuit university preceding the publication and subsequent condemnation of Galileo’s Dialogo (1632). OU holds Galileo’s own copy of the Dialogo, containing his handwritten comments in the margins.
“By any measure, this Grassi manuscript is a significant acquisition for the University of Oklahoma and an important addition to the prestigious Galileo works held by our History of Science Collections,” said Rick Luce, dean of University Libraries. “The penmanship is beautiful,” said Luce, noting that some of the pages have detailed illustrations, all hand-drawn.
The Grassi manuscript discusses Gaileo’s discoveries, including imperfections on the surface of the Sun and Moon and the satellites of Jupiter. These discoveries were first published by Galileo in Sidereus nuncius, printed in Venice in 1610. The OU copy of Sidereus nuncius displays Galileo’s signature on the title page.
“The OU Galileo collection is remarkable,” Luce said. “While many major libraries hold one or two first editions of Galileo, OU holds the entire set of 12 first editions. Neither the Library of Congress nor the British Library can say the same. Moreover, four of OU’s first editions, including the Sidereus nuncius and the Dialogo, contain Galileo’s handwriting. The Grassi manuscript and the two other Grassi books are unique additions to an already world-class Galileo collection.”
The acquisition was made possible with a $500,000 gift from the OU Athletics Department to establish an endowment to support exhibits and acquire rare works for the History of Science Collections.
“We are grateful to the Athletics Department for funding the endowment that made it possible for this manuscript to find its way to OU for its permanent home,” Luce said.
Key works from the OU Galileo collection, including the newly acquired Grassi manuscript, are now on display in the History of Science Collections on the fifth floor of Bizzell Memorial Library.
OU Student Named Goldwater Scholar
NORMAN – University of Oklahoma honors student Matthew Peters has been named a 2018 Goldwater Scholar, placing OU in the top ranks of universities nationally with 53 Goldwater Scholars since the competition began in 1991. The prestigious scholarships are awarded on the basis of potential and intent to pursue research careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering. Read more
OU to Hire Additional Clinical Psychologist
NORMAN—University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren announced Friday that adequate funding would be allocated to hire an additional psychologist at the University Counseling Center in order to further support mental health services for students and alleviate wait times. Read more
OU Radar Team Developing New Technologies for U.S. Navy Next-Generation Radar Systems
NORMAN –A University of Oklahoma Advanced Radar Research Center team is developing new antenna and related technologies for U.S. Navy next-generation radar systems with a two-year, $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research. The ARRC research and development program under way is designed to improve the agility and multi-functionality of radio frequency sensors and communication systems, while enabling future implementation on a variety of surfaces and platforms. Read more
OU Faculty Member Appointed Chair of International Astronomical Union Working Group
NORMAN –A University of Oklahoma professor, Steven Gullberg, has been appointed world chair for archeoastronomy by the International Astronomical Union. As chair, Gullberg will work with 31 nations to further the research and global advancement of archeoastronomy and astronomy in culture. Read more
OU Math Professors to Research Active Learning in Undergraduate Math Education
NORMAN –A University of Oklahoma mathematics professor, Milos Savic, has received a two-year, $93,298 grant from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities to help undergraduate students pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees succeed in introductory math courses. Savic and team will use the grant to improve and assess a recently-developed active learning pre-calculus course taught to 1,000 OU students each year. Read more