cosmographer

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sea monsters <3

Sea monster chart of German cartographer and cosmographer Sebastian Münster, who died today in 1552.

Detail from Olaus Magnus’s Carta Marina of 1539

Ulisse Aldrovandi, De Piscibus, 1613. Aldrovandi observed that stingrays (not pictured here), ‘love music, the dance and witty remarks’ but didn’t explain how they expressed their enthusiasm.

Pierre Pomet, Histoire Générale des Drogues, 1694. Sea unicorn (top) and narwhal (bottom), soon after this was published, the narwhal was identified as a ‘false unicorn’.

Abraham Ortelius, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1570

This is an illustration of the Mundus Cosmograph, a mechanism created at the Snow Tower Observatory located at the peak of the Throat of the world. The cosmograph was the first of it’s kind, and is currently used to track the celestial bodies. This information is most often used to predict the times of conjunction and power apex’s across Tamriel. 

Represented are the major constellations and their positions in relation to each other, the seasons of Nirn and Nirn itself. 

It is one of the many instruments used currently used in the researching of the Nexus Theorum. The correlation between the positions of the celestial bodies and their influence on the magical nature of Mundus itself. Some believe that it possible to predict the time and place that individuals designated as Nexus Vessels are conceived. Beings born to be involved in great events and mandate large sweeping changes to Tamriel. 

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General Atlas of All the Islands in the World

Islario general de todas las islas del mundo (General atlas of all the islands in the world) is the greatest work by Seville cosmographer Alonso de Santa Cruz (1505–67). The atlas was begun during the reign of Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain Charles V and finished in that of his son King Philip II, to whom it was dedicated. It consists of 111 maps representing all the islands and peninsulas of the world, and showing all the discoveries made by European explorers from 1400 to the mid-16th century. The atlas begins with a letter by Santa Cruz to the king, in which he justifies his work and explains different geographic concepts. Preceding the maps is “Breve introducción de la Sphera” in which Santa Cruz makes a cosmographic description, illustrated by 14 astronomical figures. The maps are organized in four parts: the first deals with the North Atlantic; the second, with the Mediterranean and adjacent areas; the third, with Africa and the Indian Ocean; and the fourth with the New World. The maps include scales in latitude and some in longitude and bodies of water with varied scales and oriented with compass roses. The Islario general is the earliest atlas in which paper is used, instead of the parchment that was previously most commonly used for such charts. The design of the maps is more functional, with less attention to aesthetics and more to geographic detail than in the late-medieval portolan maps and atlases. Scholars have determined, on the basis of the dates that appear in the descriptive texts on the islands, that the maps were made beginning in the fourth decade of the 16th century, around 1539, and that the entire atlas was completed circa 1560. It is highly probable that the Islario general was a part of a Geografía Universal that Santa Cruz never finished. Santa Cruz was one of the key figures of the Casa de Contratación (House of Trade) in Seville. One of his first works was a set of the spherical charts of the New World. He created various other works on cosmography and geography, such as the Libro de longitudes; and on historical themes, including  Crónica de los Reyes Católicos (Chronicle of the Catholic kings) and Crónica de Carlos V (Chronicle of Charles V). Following Santa Cruz’s death, his successor, Andrés García de Céspedes, attempted to claim credit for this work. On the cover the name Alonso de Santa Cruz has been erased, García de Céspedes’s name is inserted as if he were the author, and the work is dedicated to King Philip III. In the manuscript itself, apocryphal texts have been superimposed over the originals, with the aim of disguising the real authorship and date of creation.

This is an illustration of an Oblivion Cosmograph, one of many mechanisms created at the Snow Tower Observatory located at the peak of the Throat of the world. The cosmograph is one of the first true maps of the realms of Oblivion, and is currently used to track the movements of the Realms. This information is most often used to predict the times of conjunction and power apex’s across Tamriel.

Represented are the major oblivion realms and their positions in relation to each other, and to Mundus itself.

It is one of the many instruments used currently used in the researching of the Nexus Theorum. The correlation between the positions of the realms and their influence on the magical nature of Mundus itself. Some believe that it possible to predict the time and place that individuals designated as Nexus Vessels are conceived. Beings born to be involved in great events and mandate large sweeping changes to Tamriel.

It was this map along with other instruments that the Seridur Group developed to eventually pursue travel between the realms. Eventually culminating in the Aetherius Venture, which caused much controversy. Seridur proposed to exit Mundus and enter Aetherius itself. The specifics are kept a secret to this day, but it is known to be somewhat a success. Seridur returned twelve years later, having aged several centuries. He did not speak or move, but was alive.

Seridur still resides in a comatose state in the city of Alinor, though efforts to revive or communicate continue.

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Saint Bede the Venerable, Saint Isidore of Sevilla, Saint Abbo of Fleury. Cosmography, Walters MS W73. 1100s.

Created in 12th century England, this manuscript was intended to be a scientific textbook for monks, designed as a compendium of cosmographical knowledge. The complex diagrams that accompany the texts help to illustrate this knowledge, and include visualizations of the heavens and earth, seasons, winds, tides, and the zodiac, as well as demonstrations of how these things relate to man. Most of the diagrams are rotae, or wheel-shaped schemata, favored throughout the Middle Ages for the presentation of scientific and cosmological ideas. Moreover, the circle, considered the most perfect shape and a symbol of God, was seen as conveying the cyclical nature of time as well as the logic, order, and harmony of the created universe.

Jay Z and Beyoncé headed to Cleveland on Thursday to watch their good friend LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors 115-101 to tie the Finals series 3-3.

Hov was sporting a Rolex 2016 Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona with a black Cerachrom bezel. Cerachrom is a proprietary material that is corrosion and scratch-resistant, boasting a rich black color that won’t fade. The retail price stands at $13,000, and the piece is unreleased to the public as of yet. The New York Times reported last month that if you joined the waiting list for this timepiece today you would have a two to five year wait before being able to purchase it. Hov got the plug!

The Book Challenge

Two weeks ago muspeccoll tagged us in the book challenge, and what a challenge it was to just limit the list to only 10 books! In no order, here our some of our favorites. Images accompany all but two, since they have been used in past Facebook posts. We look forward to sharing more about these selections in the future, as well as sharing more of what we have!

Apologies if you have already been tagged, but we would love to hear from osurarebooks, udspeccoll, and georgetownspecialcollections.

1.) Ptolemy’s Geographiae Clavdii Ptolemaei Alexandrini…

Egyptian astronomer, mathematician, and geographer, Claudius Ptolemy (100-170 A.D.), was originally composed in Greek around 160 A.D., and contains the descriptions and locations of more than 8,000 places in the ancient world.

Special Collections has this 4th edition, published in 1552, by German cosmographer and scholar of Hebrew, Sebastian Münster (1489-1552), and printed by Heinrich Petri in Basle, which includes 27 fine double-page woodcut maps of the old world, and 27 of the new world.

2.) Euclid’s Elements of Geometrie, 1570

In about 300 B.C., Euclid wrote Elements, a mathematical and geometric treatise consisting of 13 books which is the world’s oldest continuously used mathematical text book.  At Special Collections you can find the first edition of the first complete English translation published in 1570 by English merchant, Henry Billingsley. A special feature of this edition, are the pasted flaps of paper that can be folded up to produce three dimensional models, making it one of the oldest pop-up books.

3.) 15th century Book of Hours

The origin of this stunning work is the School of Jacques de Besancon in Paris, circa 1489-1490.

4.) Andreas Cellarius’ Harmonia Macrocosmica [Atlas of the Heavens], published in 1708.

Amazing collection of celestial maps by Dutch-German mathematician and cosmographer Andreas Cellarius (c. 1596 – 1665). All maps, engraved and hand-colored, depict the planispheres according to Claudius Ptolemy, Nicolaus Copernicus and Tycho Brahe.

5.) Hugues de Fouilloy’s De Claustro Animae et de Nove Benefitiis Religionis

From the mid-1400’s, this is our oldest book! Handwritten with black ink on parchment made from calf skin (vellum) and covered with the original boards, most likely oak. 

6.) First edition of Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy, 1621

This just might be the most deluxe gilded binding that Special Collections owns!

7.) One of 120 complete sets of John James Audubon’s Birds of America

8.) Fragment from a 12th century missal

9.) Kelmscott Press, The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, 1896. Limited to 425 copies.

10.) First edition of The Matthew Byble, 1537.

Thanks for asking us to take part muspeccoll, it was fun!

Scientists begin modeling universe with Einstein’s full theory of general relativity

Research teams on both sides of the Atlantic have shown that precise modeling of the universe and its contents will change the detailed understanding of the evolution of the universe and the growth of structure in it.

One hundred years after Einstein introduced general relativity, it remains the best theory of gravity, the researchers say, consistently passing high-precision tests in the solar system and successfully predicting new phenomena such as gravitational waves, which were recently discovered by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory.

The equations of general relativity, unfortunately, are notoriously difficult to solve. For the past century, physicists have used a variety of assumptions and simplifications in order to apply Einstein’s theory to the universe.

On Earth, that’s something like averaging the music made by a symphony. The audience would hear a single average note, keeping the overall beat, growing generally louder and softer rather than the individual notes and rhythms of each of the orchestra’s instruments.

Wanting details and their effects, U.S. and European teams each wrote computer codes that will eventually lead to the most accurate possible models of the universe and provide new insights into gravity and its effects.

While simulations of the universe and the structures within it have been the subject of scientific discovery for decades, these codes have made some simplifications or assumptions. These two codes are the first to use Einstein’s complete theory of general relativity to account for the effects of the clumping of matter in some regions and the dearth of matter in others.

Both groups of physicists were trying to answer the question of whether small-scale structures in the universe produce effects on larger distance scales. Both confirmed that’s the case, though neither has found qualitative changes in the expansion of the universe as some scientists have predicted.

“Both we and the other group examine the universe using the full theory of general relativity, and have therefore been able to create more accurate models of physical processes than have been done before,” said James Mertens, a physics PhD student at Case Western Reserve University who took the lead in developing and implementing the numerical techniques for the U.S. team.

Mertens worked with John T. Giblin Jr., the Harvey F. Lodish Development Professor of Natural Science at Kenyon College and an adjunct associate professor of physics at Case Western Reserve; and Glenn Starkman, professor of physics and director of the Institute for the Science of Origins at Case Western Reserve. They submitted two manuscripts describing their work to the arXiv preprint website on Nov. 3, 2015.

Less than two weeks later, Marco Bruni, reader in cosmology and gravitation at the University of Portsmouth, in England, and Eloisa Bentivegna, Senior Researcher and Rita Levi Montalcini Fellow at the University of Catania, Italy, submitted a similar study.

Letters by the two groups appear back-to-back in the June 24th issue of Physical Review Letters, and the U.S. group has a second paper giving more of the details in the issue of The Physical Review Part D to be published on the same day. The work will be highlighted as Editors’ Suggestion by Physical Review Letters and Physical Review D and in a Synopsis on the American Physical Society Physics website.

The researchers say computers employing the full power of general relativity are the key to producing more accurate results and perhaps new or deeper understanding.

“No one has modeled the full complexity of the problem before,” Starkman said. “These papers are an important step forward, using the full machinery of general relativity to model the universe, without unwarranted assumptions of symmetry or smoothness. The universe doesn’t make these assumptions, neither should we.”

Both groups independently created software to solve the Einstein Field Equations, which describe the complicated interrelationships between the contents of the universe and the curvature of space and time, at billions of places and times over the history of the universe.

Comparing the outcomes of these numerical simulations of the correct nonlinear dynamics to the outcomes of traditional simplified linear models, the researchers found that approximations break down.

“By assuming less, we’re seeing something new,” Giblin said.

Bentivegna said that their preliminary applications of numerical relativity have shown how and by how much approximations miss the correct answers. More importantly, she said, “This will allow us to comprehend a larger class of observational effects that are likely to emerge as we do precision cosmology.”

“There are indeed several aspects of large-scale structure formation (and their consequences on, for example, the cosmic microwave background) which call for a fully general relativistic approach,” said Sabino Matarrese, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Padua, who was not involved in the studies.

This approach will also provide accuracy and insight to such things as gravitational lensing maps and studying the cross-correlation among different cosmological datasets, he added.

The European team found that perturbations reached a “turnaround point” and collapsed much earlier than predicted by approximate models. Comparing their model to the commonly assumed homogeneous expansion of the universe, local deviations in an underdensity (a region with less than the average amount of matter) reached nearly 30 percent.

The U.S. team found that inhomogeneous matter generates local differences in the expansion rate of an evolving universe, deviating from the behavior of a widely used approximation to the behavior of space and time, called the Friedmann-Lemaître-Robertson-Walker metric.

Stuart L. Shapiro, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is among the acknowledged leaders of solving Einstein’s equations on the computer. “These works are important, not only for the new results that they report, but also for being forerunners in the application of numerical relativity to long-standing problems in cosmology,” said Shapiro, who was not involved in the studies.

No longer restricted by the assumptions, researchers must abandon some traditional approaches, he continued, “and these papers begin to show us the way.”

Bruni said galaxy surveys coming in the next decade will provide new high-precision measurements of cosmological parameters and that theoretical predictions must be equally precise and accurate.

“Numerical relativity simulations apply general relativity in full and aim precisely at this high level of accuracy,” he said. “In the future they should become the new standard, or at least the benchmark for any work that makes simplifying assumptions.”

Both teams are continuing to explore aspects of the universe using numerical relativity and enhancing their codes.

Bentivegna and Bruni used the Einstein Toolkit, which is open-source, to develop theirs. The U.S. team created CosmoGRaPH and will soon make the software open-source. Both codes will be available online for other researchers to use and improve.

IMAGE….In a simulation of the universe without commonly made simplifications, galaxy profiles float atop a grid representing the spacetime background shaped by the distribution of matter. Regions of blue color contain more matter, which generates a deeper gravitational potential. Regions devoid of matter, darker in color, have a shallower potential. Credit James Mertens