1 Aug 2011

A Pictorial History of Science

It's summer (well, everywhere but the west coast, where it's still spring) and sometimes a gal just wants to look at pictures instead of reading a lot. I like to prowl second-hand bookstores and a few years ago I picked up the gem, History of Biology by Albert Delauney. It's an older book — from 1966, about the same vintage as me, come to think of it — so it's got a dated look (also like me), but I found the illustrations really captivating. It's interesting to think about how we interpret the phenomena around us, how we make sense of things we don't quite understand. So, for my post, I give you this little visual tour of our understanding of the world through the ages:

An interpretation of how life began. It all began on the "tree of life," of course! Notice how the leaves that fall into the water turn into fish while the ones that fall on land turn into birds?

This sporty fellow is measuring all sorts of "things" (what, exactly, I'm not quite sure) while he exercises. Nice little cap, eh? And what do you think the cords to his toes are measuring?

I think this is my favourite — The Roussel Transfuser. An early attempt at blood transfusion from 1876.

An Italian anatomical drawing of the skeleton from the 15th century.

And another beauty — the animals kingdom from Gesner's Historica animalium. As the caption says, "It is a little difficult to reconcile it with reality and there is no attempt to arrange the animals in any order." That is one nasty lobster!

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