Hakluyt @ 400 - Renaissance Scientific Instruments, by Dr Allan Chapman

Monday, January 16, 2017 - 17:15
Contact person
Dr Cristina Neagu
01865 276265
Talk / Lecture

Surveying Virginia and the Moon; Thomas Harriot of St Mary's Hall/Oriel College, Europe's first Telescopic Astronomer

By the time that Richard Hakluyt was teaching geography and cosmography at Christ Church  around 1580, there was already an established Europe-wide trade in making graduated mathematical instruments. Thomas Harriot must have known Richard Hakluyt well, for both men shared friends such as the Oriel alumnus Sir Walter Ralegh, Dr John Dee, Thomas Digges and other explorers and scientists around the Court of Queen Elizabeth I. Harriot used an early Dutch 'truncke' telescope to draw the surface of the moon. Soon after, he produced some lunar maps of exquisite detail and accuracy, which still survive in Chichester.

Most of the ordinary instruments of the working navigator, surveyor, and map-maker would have been made of wood, and would have had an ephemeral existence. They would have been lost at sea, broken, or eventually thrown into the fire. Where these instruments truly come to life, though, is in the engraved and printed manuals for their usage.

To illustrate how these instruments were used, the Library has invited Dr Allan Chapman to give a series of talks. This will take place on 16 January in the Upper Library at Christ Church, commencing 5;15 pm, all welcome. The event is free of charge, but spaces are limited. To book a place, please contact Dr Cristina Neagu, Christ Church Library, Oxford OX1 1DP. Tel.: +44(0)1865 276 265. Email: cristina.neagu@chch.ox.ac.uk