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13 November 2014

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You are in: Wiltshire > People > Stories > Einstein moves to Swindon

Einstein moves to Swindon

Over 26 kilometres, and half a million, of the Science Museum Library's finest heads to Swindon...

It boasts nearly 26 kilometres of shelving, over half a million books, journals and periodicals and some of the most iconic original editions by Einstein, Galileo, Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin that have until recently been held in the Science Museum's Library and Archive in London…

Science Museum Library & Archives in Swindon

Science Museum Library & Archives in Swindon

It was back at the beginning of December that the new Science Museum Library building in Swindon was finally complete and ready for the transfer of almost 85% of the Science Museum Library's rare collection in London.

Now three months on and Swindon's new climate controlled science library has opened up its doors to the public and is ready for business.

Based at the Science Museum Wroughton's airfield site, the new state-of-the-art building not only houses a reading room, that can accommodate 30 readers at a time, but almost 26 kilometres of shelving with over 10,000 journals, 100,000 books (the earliest dating from 1486) and 1.25 million plus British patents from 1617 onwards.

Plus some of the most fascinating scientific gems ever written...

Albert Einstein’s Special and General relativity

Albert Einstein's relativity Theory

Gems such as: a signed copy of Albert Einstein's 'Special and General relativity Theory'; 'The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S Beagle' with an illustration of the Tanagra Darwini named after Charles Darwin and 'Tresor des Tresors' which features The Phoenix by Alchemist Nicolas Flamel dated from 1700.

The collection also includes notable works by Nicolas Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton and manuscripts of scientists and engineers from Charles Babbage and Barnes Wallis to Charles Wheatstone.

Alongside these iconic items, the new library also houses a fascinating collection of books, journals, letters, personal papers, technical drawings, patents and trade catalogues tracking the history of science and engineering from 1486 onwards.

And you don't have to be a researcher to access this amazing collection, and book some library time:

Tresor des Tresors - Alchemist Nicolas Flamel

Tresor des Tresors - Alchemist Nicolas Flamel

"It's open to everyone," says Rupert Williams, Head of Library and Archives, "from people tracing their family history through their trades to specialist societies from school pupils studying for GCSESs to the general public.

"The facility is open to anybody and book-able a day or so in advance.”

And should you bring your own white gloves?

"White gloves are supplied, where appropriate," says Rupert, "and we'll of course show people how to handle some of the very rare items in the collection."

So if you'd like to dip into this fascinating collection you can book a visit to the new Science Museum Library in Swindon by calling 01793 846 222.

And to give you a taster of what to expect here's the top five items in the Science Museum Library Collection:

  1. Ptolemy's Almagest: Bound in 15th century vellum church music manuscript, this was the first translation of Ptolemy's Almagest and reintroduced ancient theories of astronomy and planetary motion in a geocentric system to 15th century Europe. 
  2. Reisch's Margarita philosophica: Beautifully hand-coloured woodcuts make this copy of Reisch's Margarita philosophica (The philosophical pearl) unique.  Margarita Philosophica was written as a university textbook, covering philosophy, religion, the arts and sciences.
  3. Sir Isaac Newton's "Mathematical principles of natural philosophy":  One of the most important books scientific books ever to be written, Sir Isaac Newton's "Mathematical principles of natural philosophy" laid the foundations of his theory of gravity. It contains his laws of motion which formed the foundation of classical mechanics, as well as his law of universal gravitation and a derivation of Kepler's laws for the motion of the planets.
  4. Snape's purging pill for horses: This is the only known copy in the world of probably the first fully descriptive, printed catalogue offering animal remedies for sale and covers the preparations, their indications and methods of use.  This is in the Comben Collection, a rich resource for the history of animal husbandry and veterinary science.
  5. Louis Isidore Duperrey's Voyage autour du monde : This French example from the early 19th century has particularly attractive plates covering ethnography and local technology in the Pacific region.

last updated: 03/12/2008 at 14:59
created: 11/03/2008

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