A few months ago, I posted a review of the book, The Mysterious Universe, written by Ellen Jackson with photographs and illustrations by Nic Bishop (Houghton Mifflin, 2008), which takes an in depth look at the expanding universe. Of course, our understanding of the universe today is based upon the work of scientists of the past. A new exhibition of science books at the Huntingtion library in California called "Beautiful Science: Ideas That Changed the World" highlights many of the books that influenced or were written by some of the greatest scientist of the past.
The exhibition focuses on four areas of science: astronomy, natural history, medicine and light. Some of the books featured are Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica, the book where Newton codified the laws of motion and gravity; Nicolaus Copernicus' De Revolutionibus, the description of a solar system which had the sun, not the Earth, at its center; and Petrus Apianus' Astronomicum Caesarium, a collection of strikingly beautiful, hand-illustrated star charts published in 1540.
NPR's recent broadcast, Paging Through History's Beautiful Science highlists the exhibit and some of these books. Several photos and videos highlight the books themselves. Absolutely fascinating!