Word of the Day: Astrarium

Lauren writes:

“I’m not a scientist by trade, but I am, in fact, a huge nerd. I study 18th-century British literature, including scientific literature. It was a wild time to be in science. It was also the heyday of the orrery, which provided the initial impetus for my tattoo. (Orreries, as it turned out, involve too many circles to make them feasible for inking on a large scale.) Then I discovered & fell in love with the comprehensive diagrams in Giovanni de’Dondi’s 1364 Il Tractatus Astarii–the plans for the first famous astrarium. My backpiece is of the Mercury wheelwork. Of course, you couldn’t track Mercury with it–de’Dondi followed Ptolemy–but I find his Astrarium a lovely & impressive testament to human ingenuity & curiosity.”

Carl: It took sixteen years for de’Dondi’s astrarium to be built, but it was later destroyed. See a reconstruction here. And read about de’Dondi here.

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