Electronic Newsletter for the History of Astronomy - Number 33

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*                                                                         *
*      Published by the Working Group for the History of Astronomy        *
*                  in the Astronomische Gesellschaft                      *
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*                    Number 33,  December 11, 1998                        *
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*                     Edited by: Wolfgang R. Dick                         *
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1. Peter D. Hingley: The Royal Astronomical Society's Library and Archives

2. Michael Oates: Uranographia Britannica

3. Julio Gonzalez Cabillon: HISTORIA MATEMATICA - a new mailing list

4. Fifth International Conference on the History and Foundations of
      General Relativity

5. Conferences 1999-2001



Item 1                                       ENHA No. 33, December 11, 1998

The Royal Astronomical Society's Library and Archives

By Peter D. Hingley, London

(From: IAU Comm. 41 Newsletter, 1997-2000 Triennium, October 1998,
Issue # 3. See
http://www.astro.uni-bonn.de/~pbrosche/iaucomm41/news/c41_news_03.html .
Slightly edited by the author for this reprint.)

The Royal Astronomical Society has been accumulating books, manuscripts,
pictures, instruments and miscellaneous relics since its foundation in 1820
February. Originally only a `box of books', the Library has grown to
occupy quite a large proportion of the Society's premises in Burlington
House, Piccadilly, London, and has an open shelf stock of about 12,000
`modern' books (i.e. post 1850), about 4,000 books and pamphlets before
1850, and the remaining 16,000 volumes are bound periodicals, some of them
of great age. The Library is primarily a research library dealing with
modern astronomy and geophysics and seeks to maintain a balanced, if not
fully comprehensive, stock of books in those subjects. The majority of
serious journals in astronomy are held from volume 1. Many journals are
held dealing with the more theoretical aspects of geophysics but the
monographs stocks in this field are less complete. It also has extensive
collections for the history of astronomy, and some on that of geophysics.

The creme de la creme of the Rare Books is the collection bequeathed by the
late Colonel E H Grove-Hills on his death in 1923. The Library has also
subsumed the very interesting Library of the Spitalfields Mathematical
Society (1717 - 1846) though alas quite a lot of their books were
subsequently disposed of; we probably have about 800 left including journal

The RAS Archives were catalogued by Dr J A Bennett whose catalogue was
published as the last issue of the Society's Memoirs in 1978 (Volume 85).
Printed copies of this are still available. They include both the
administrative papers of the Society, and its correspondence with its
members, from the first days of its existence onwards, (and although there
are many famous names in those pages sadly this material can induce a
certain ennui in the researcher as much of it is purely administrative).
These are referred to as `RAS PAPERS' and `RAS LETTERS'.

Much more varied and interesting are the `RAS MSS', which is a wide ranging
collection of deposits of papers from individuals and a few observatories.
They include material from such interesting people as Sir James South,
Francis Baily, William Lassell, the complete run of Heinrich Schwabe's
sunspot observing books from which he derived his original results about
periodicity, Madras Observatory, and many more.

Overwhelmingly the most important group of manuscript material owned by the
RAS is its manuscripts of Sir William, Miss Caroline, and Sir John
Herschel. A microfilm of this is available (24 reels !) but until very
recently it has been stored in the archives strongroom of Churchill
College, Cambridge; it has just been returned to Burlington House.

The `ADD MSS' are an even more varied collection, including material in
many formats and types. Due to constraints of time and finance Dr
Bennett's catalogue was selective - generally the names listed of
correspondents are only those important enough to be in `Poggendorff's
Biographisch-Literarisches Handwoerterbuch...', and, alas, there is no
subject index. The latter problem has been partly (and laboriously)
addressed by having a scanned file made of the catalogue which has been
proof-read by myself and the corrections inserted - though inevitably there
are still some errors - so that simple searches can be done by names or
subjects. As time has gone on more material has come to light, and a
supplementary list is slowly being compiled, again in WORD so simple
searches are possible, though alas due to time constraints progress has
been painfully slow.

Numerous small manuscript items were discovered by searching through the
Library's `Tract' collection and things get found or are donated.
Interesting deposits of material added since Dr Bennett's catalogue have
included proof and MS versions of George Bishop's `Charts of the Ecliptic',
additional papers of James Glaisher, and observing material of the Revd
T E R Phillips, the Revd T W Webb, F J M Stratton, and A G Shrimpton. Some
work has also been done on the RAS's photographic holdings; the collection
is strong in portraits and photographs of telescopes and eclipse
expeditions. The collection of astronomical photographs is only now being
explored; there are varying numbers of prints by A A Common, Isaac Roberts,
Max Wolff and Paul et Prosper Henry while there are several thousand glass
plates in many varying formats some dating back to the 1860s. At long last
conservation enclosures and space are available for the sorting out of
these but again time is very limited.

One of the most frequent types of enquiry is for bio-bibliography of former
scientists and to assist with this type of enquiry a 9 page handout is
available on request, `Biographical and Portrait Sources for Astronomers'
(Bio-Paws for short !) which, although inevitably British orientated,
lists quite a lot of the sources for such study as well as acting as a
guide to RAS holdings.

The Library is not actually a public one and is maintained for and financed
by the Society. With a staff of only two it is difficult to deal with the
many public enquiries from people wanting to name stars after their
Granny (!) or see the next eclipse. We do however welcome many overseas
researchers each year and as far as possible answer incoming research
enquiries from non Fellows. It is really essential however that any
non-members wishing to use the Library should make contact in advance by
e-mail, telephone, or letter, especially if they wish to use special
collections material. They should also be prepared to prove their identity
with a University staff card or the like.

RAS Library's Web page: http://www.ras.org.uk/ras/library/library.htm

Author's address:
Peter D. Hingley, Librarian
Royal Astronomical Society
Burlington House
London W1V 0NL
Tel.: 0171 734 4582 / 3307
Fax:  0171 494 0166
e-mails:  Librarian:  pdh@ras.org.uk
Assistant Librarian:  mic@ras.org.uk
  General Enquiries: info@ras.org.uk

Item 2                                       ENHA No. 33, December 11, 1998

Uranographia Britannica

By Michael Oates, Manchester

(From: "Elektronische Mitteilungen zur Astronomiegeschichte" Nr. 35,
7. Dezember 1998, Item 4.)

The Manchester Astronomical Society are proud to announce that a CD-ROM
version of an extremely rare Star Atlas compiled by John Bevis, in the
eighteenth century, can now be ordered online from


Or you can visit the Bevis Uranographia Britannica home page at


An article on the Discovery of the Atlas appeared in Astronomy Now, June
98 edition. Plus a 4 page article on the November 98 issue of Sky &
Telescope. The CD-ROM was also featured in the September 98 issue of Sky &

Brief Description of the Atlas

This is an extremely rare atlas, and little known. The Manchester
Astronomical Society discovered, nearly one year ago, that it was in
possession of a very good copy, one of only 16 known to exist!

It comprises of 51 Star charts covering the whole sky, a Cover page,
Frontispiece and Index page.

John Bevis, an eighteenth century physician - turned astronomer, whose
other claim to fame is as the discoverer of the Crab Nebula compiled this
atlas during the years 1745 - 1750. But the atlas was never published as
the publisher was declared bankrupt in 1750.

The quality of the engravings far surpass any other star atlas of the day,
including those from Bayer, and Flamsteed.

See http://www.u-net.com/ph/mas/bevis/press.htm for a Press release.

Brief Description of the CD-ROM

The whole atlas has been reproduced and put on to CD-ROM. Not only are all
the charts and plates on the CD-ROM, but there is also a wealth of
information about the atlas, John Bevis, how it was produced and why it
was never published. The CD-ROM also includes an article about a
pre-discovery observation of Uranus. A separate image directory has all
the plates in .bmp format, and a selection of very high resolution images
in .jpg format.

The CD-ROM works with all versions of Windows from 3.1 upwards including
Windows95/98 Windows NT3.5x - NT4 and the Macintosh.

See http://www.u-net.com/ph/mas/bevis/cd-rom.htm for more information and
online ordering by RegNet, or pay by cheque. Prices from GBP 12 plus

Author's address:
Michael Oates, F.R.A.S.
Manchester Astronomical Society
Email: mike@ph.u-net.com

Item 3                                       ENHA No. 33, December 11, 1998

HISTORIA MATEMATICA - a new mailing list

By Julio Gonzalez Cabillon, Montevideo, Uruguay

(From: "Elektronische Mitteilungen zur Astronomiegeschichte" Nr. 35,
7. Dezember 1998, Item 5.)

HISTORIA MATEMATICA [HM] is a new discussion list on the history of

1. Description of HM

1.1 Purpose and standards

The purpose of this list is to provide a virtual forum for scholarly
discussion of the history of mathematics (in a broad sense), amongst
professionals and non-professionals with an earnest interest in the field.

Postings are to be highly relevant to the purpose of this list. All
traditional and scholarly aspects of the history of mathematics are
expected to be heavily discussed here.


  - History of _history of mathematics_
  - Current trends in the history of mathematics
  - History of _mathematics outside Europe_
  - Ethnomathematics
  - Pedagogical issues
  - Origin of mathematical terms/symbols
  - Biographies and obituaries
  - Bibliographical references (databases)
  - Announcements and reviews of new books, articles,
    preprints, websites, ...
  - Advertisements of conferences, meetings, jobs, ...

Contributors should strive to submit posts containing interesting,
worthwhile or new information about substantive topics on the history of
mathematics in a conscious effort to keep the signal-to-noise ratio as high
as possible.

Pertinent comments, queries, replies ... should be written with the same
standards of thoughtfulness and care that apply to other scholarly
activities; not necessarily at the level of writing a book or an article
for a journal, but at least at the level of the informal printed material
(e.g. photocopies) used at courses.

1.2 Languages

ENGLISH, Portuguese and Spanish are the official languages of the list.

Postings in other languages (e.g. French, German, Italian, ...) are also
welcome. But, in this case, whenever a long posting is sent out, an
abstract in English (say) would be highly appreciated.

Although I do not think one should encourage too many languages on the
forum (since many listmembers might just be monoglots), the list is to be
*open* to those contributors who wish to communicate in their mother
tongue, and do not feel confident enough in other languages.

If you are *not* familiar with the language of a post, but you suspect that
the topic discussed is, for instance, relevant to your own field of study
(some key-words in the email may suggest that), a solution somehow will be
found - at least, I hope so.

If you are not sufficiently interested in that thread, you may simply hit
the 'delete' key. This list is intended to provide a vehicle of
communication for people of different nationalities, and it is unreasonable
- in my opinion - to ask *everyone* to write in a specific language in
order to communicate.

1.3 Configuration

This is a CLOSED forum; that is to say, subscriptions MUST be approved by
the list owner. Those who subscribe to HM are encouraged to identify
themselves by name, profession, institutional affiliation, and research

'Ego trips' will mean trips outside the list.

Whereas freedom of speech is wonderful, and the discussion of controversial
matters on the history of mathematics is to be expected (and welcome!),
personal invective cannot take place on this forum.

It must be said very emphatically: abuse or misuse of the list in one way
or another will cause instant cancellation of the subscription by the list

2. How to sign on

You can join the HISTORIA MATEMATICA mailing list sending your subscription
(which has to be APPROVED) to


with the following command in the body of your message:

  subscribe historia-matematica

  [Please mind that there is no 'h' in 'matematica']

You can also request your subscription (for APPROVAL) to HM sending mail to


with the following command in the body of your message:


Author's address:
Professor Julio Gonzalez Cabillon
Emilio Frugoni 860 / apto 002
11200 Montevideo
Phones:  +598 2 409 1977, +598 2 401 2951
Emails: owner-historia-matematica@chasque.apc.org, jgc@chasque.apc.org

Item 4                                       ENHA No. 33, December 11, 1998

Fifth International Conference on the History and Foundations of
General Relativity

(From: "Elektronische Mitteilungen zur Astronomiegeschichte" Nr. 35,
7. Dezember 1998, Item 6.)

July 8-11, 1999
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana

Announcement and Call for Papers

The organizers invite proposals for papers in all areas of the history and
foundations of general relativity. Suitable topics include but are not
limited to:

* historical analysis of the origins of general relativity up to 1915, its
precursors, competitors, and related developments in physics and

* historical analysis of the later development of the theory, including:
relativistic astrophysics and cosmology, unified field theories, empirical
tests, the equations of motion, energy conservation, gravitational
collapse, gravitational waves, black holes, and singularity theorems,
relativistic continuum mechanics, quantization of general relativity,
alternative theories of gravitation;

* critical analysis of foundational problems in general relativity,
including: relationalism versus substantivalism, singularities, energy
conservation, black hole information loss, quantum field theory in curved
spacetime, quantum gravity, reduction of Newtonian gravitational theory and
special relativity to general relativity, axiomatizations of general
relativity, cosmology;

* general relativity in context, including the scientific, institutional,
philosophical, cultural and popular reception of the theory in diverse
communities and countries, anti-relativity movements.

Organizing Committee:

  Jean Eisenstaedt, CNRS Paris
  Hubert Goenner, Physics, University of Goettingen
  Don Howard, Philosophy, University of Notre Dame
  Michel Janssen, Philosophy, Boston University
  A.J. Kox, Physics, University of Amsterdam
  John Norton, History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh
  Juergen Renn, Max Planck Institute for History of Science, Berlin
  Sahotra Sarkar, Philosophy, University of Texas=96Austin
  Tilman Sauer, History of Science, University of G=F6ttingen
  John Stachel, Physics, Boston University
  C.V. Vishveshwara, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore

Sponsoring organizations:

  Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, and the Graduate
  Program in History and Philosophy of Science, University of Notre Dame
  Center for Einstein Studies, Boston University

If your center would like to cosponsor this or future meetings, write for
further information.

If you are interested in attending, please return the form below for
further mailings.

If you would like to propose a paper, please return the form below with a
title and abstract of the proposed paper as soon as possible, at the latest
by January 30, 1999. Decisions of the organizing committee will be
announced no later than March 15, 1999.

You can mail the form to:

Don Howard
Program in History and Philosophy of Science
346 O'Shaughnessy
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana 46556

Or email the form to:


For further information, write to either of the above addresses; you may
also telephone at 219-631-7547 or fax at 219-631-3985.

Please send me further mailings on the Fifth International Conference on
the History and Foundations of General Relativity.








I do / do not wish to offer a paper.

(If yes, please enclose title and abstract.)

Item 5                                       ENHA No. 33, December 11, 1998

Conferences 1999-2001

(From: "Elektronische Mitteilungen zur Astronomiegeschichte" Nr. 36,
11. Dezember 1998, Items 3 [excerpt only] and 4. Partially translated
by the editor.)

Further conferences in the year 1999 were reported in previous issues
of ENHA. For a complete list of all conferences announced see the
following URL:


February 27, 1999, Oakland, CA, USA
48th meeting of the Northern California Luncheon and Discussion
Association (NCHALADA XLVIII) for historical astronomy discussions
Place: Chabot Observatory, 4917 Mountain Blvd., Oakland, CA 94619.
9:30 AM: refreshments and greetings.
10 AM: "Climate Changes on Earth", chaired by Betty Neall,
Eastbay Astronomical Society.
2:30 PM: "Asteroids", chaired by Bill Stepka, San Francisco Amateur
Contact: Norman Sperling, Everything in the Universe, 185 John Street,
Oakland, CA 94611. Phone & fax: +510-547-6523.
e-mail: nsperling@california.com. 

March 20, 1999, Jena, Germany
Colloquium on the occassion of the 300th birthday of Erhard Weigel.
Information: Dr. Klaus-Dieter Herbst, Braendstroemstrasse 17,
D-07749 Jena, Germany; or Dr. Reinhard E. Schielicke,
e-mail: schie@astro.uni-jena.de
URL: http://www.astro.uni-jena.de/Astron_Ges/weigel.html

May 13-16, 1999, Ilmenau/Thuringia, Germany
28th Annual Meeting of the Arbeitskreis Sonnenuhren [Sundial Working Group]
in the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Chronometrie [German Chronometric
On May 14 papers will be presented, on May 15 a one-day excursion will
take place.
Fee: Non-members DM 55.00
Deadline for registration: January 31, 1999
Information and registration: Arnold Zenkert, Seestr. 17, D-14467 Potsdam,
Germany, Phone/Fax 0331-2700468

May 29-30, 1999, Munich, Germany
Between Physics and Biology: Chemical Sciences in the Twentieth Century
Joint Conference of the IUHPS/DHS Commissions on the History of Modern
Chemistry / on the History of Modern Physics
The programme includes:
Session II. From Radiochemistry to Nuclear Chemistry and Cosmochemistry
with a paper by Helge Kragh (Aarhus): Geo-, Astro- and Cosmochemistry:
Chemical Approaches to the Study of the Heavens
Registration deadline: 15 April 1999. Registration fee: DM 40
Inquiries and registration: Prof. Christoph Meinel,
Wissenschaftsgeschichte, University of Regenburg, D-93040 Regensburg,
Germany, e-mail: christoph.meinel@psk.uni-regenburg.de

September 15-19, 1999, Lake Como and Pavia, Italy
"Science as Culture": 5th International History, Philosophy and Science
Teaching Conference and 8th European Physical Society History and Physics
Teaching Conference
For details and paper submissions contact: Dr Enrico Antonio Giannetto,
Dipartimento di Fisica 'A.Volta', Universita di Pavia, Via A. Bassi 6,
27100 Pavia, Italy, email: volta99@pv.infn.it
URLs: http://www.cilea.it/volta99/ ,

July 6-9, 2000, Vienna, Austria
Third International History of Philosophy of Science Conference
(HOPOS 2000)
Submissions may be in English, German or French.
Address inquiries to:
Institute Vienna Circle, Museumstrasse 5/2/17, A-1070 Wien, Austria.
Phone/Fax.: +431-526-1005.
Email: i_v_c@ping.at (please refer to "HOPOS 2000" in the subject line)
URL: http://hhobel.phl.univie.ac.at/wk/hop2000.html

August 7-19, 2000, Manchester, UK
XXIVth General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union
Comm. 41 "History of Astronomy" Business meeting
Proposed Joint Discussion: "Applied Historical Astronomy"
Proposed Invited Discourse: "The History of Astronomy in the 20th Century"
Details will be announced later.
Contacts: Dr Steven J. Dick, U.S. Naval Observatory,
3450 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20392-5420, USA,
e-mail: dick@ariel.usno.navy.mil

September 4-8, 2000, Oxford, UK
XIX Scientific Instrument Symposium organised by the Scientific
Instrument Commission of the International Union of the History and
Philosophy of Science
Contacts: Dr. James A. Bennett, Museum of the History of Science,
Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3AZ, Great Britain,
e-mail: jim.bennett@History-of-Science.oxford.ac.uk

July 8-14, 2001, Mexico City, Mexico
XXIst International Congress of History of Science
Theme: Science and Cultural Diversity
If you are interested in receiving the Call for Papers and other
information on the congress, please contact:
Prof. Juan Jose Saldana, Chairman of the Organizing Committee,
of the XXIst ICHS, Apartado postal 21-873, 04000 Mexico D. F., Mexico,
e-mail: xxiichs@servidor.unam.mx
URL: http://www.cilea.it/history/DHS/mexico.htm



For information we thank all authors and in addition: 

Klaus-Dieter Herbst (Jena), Reinhard E. Schielicke (Jena), Norman Sperling
(Oakland, CA), Arnold Zenkert (Potsdam).



Electronic Newsletter for the History of Astronomy (ENHA)

Published by the Working Group for the History of Astronomy in the
Astronomische Gesellschaft

Editor: Dr. Wolfgang R. Dick 

All items without an author's name are editorial contributions.
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