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Observing by Hand: Sketching the Nebulae in the Nineteenth Century

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Duration: 0:41:45 | Added: 16 Mar 2015
A discussion of Omar Nasim's book

Dr Omar Nasim (lecturer in history at the University of Kent) discusses his book with Dr Stephen Johnston (Assistant Keeper, Museum of the History of Science), Professor Martin Kemp (History of Art, University of Oxford) and Professor Chris Lintott (Astrophysics, University of Oxford).

The book sheds entirely new light on the ways in which the production and reception of handdrawn images of the nebulae in the nineteenth century contributed to astronomical observation. Omar W. Nasim investigates hundreds of unpublished observing books and paper records from six nineteenth-century observers of the nebulae: Sir John Herschel; William Parsons, the third Earl of Rosse; William Lassell; Ebenezer Porter Mason; Ernst Wilhelm Leberecht Tempel; and George Phillips Bond. Nasim focuses on the ways in which these observers created and employed their drawings in data-driven procedures, from their choices of artistic materials and techniques to their practices and scientific observation. He examines the ways in which the act of drawing complemented the acts of seeing and knowing, as well as the ways that making pictures was connected to the production of scientific knowledge.

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