EXHIBITS: A Real Page-Turner

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Science  07 May 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5672, pp. 803
DOI: 10.1126/science.304.5672.803d

Scottish artist Elizabeth Blackwell painted medical plants such as the bear's breech and fig in hopes of earning enough cash to spring her feckless husband from debtor's prison. She succeeded, and her beautifully illustrated A Curious Herbal (1737–39) became a staple among doctors and apothecaries. Peruse selections from the herbal and two other science-related books at “Turning the Pages,” a new Web exhibit showcasing rare works from the British Library in London. Thanks to some nifty graphics, you can flip from page to page almost as if you held the real book in your hands. Other offerings include the library's Leonardo da Vinci Notebook, a collection of optical sketches, plans for a new city, and other jottings that the premier Renaissance man began in 1508, and On the Fabric of the Human Body (1543), by the pioneering anatomist Andreas Vesalius. The site also supplies audio narration and a mirror to read Leonardo's right-to-left scrawl.


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