At The Newberry | Jesse Molesworth, On the Orrery

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on January 30, 2013

From The Newberry:

Jesse Molesworth, Time and the Cosmos: The Orrery in the Eighteenth-Century Imagination
The Newberry Library, Chicago, 23 February 2013

Please join us on Saturday, 23 February 2013, 2-4pm for the Newberry Library Eighteenth-Century Seminar works-in-progress session with Jesse Molesworth of Indiana University, speaking on the orrery in the eighteenth century.

The first modern orrery, a mechanical device presenting the motion of the solar system, was produced in 1704 by the eminent English clockmakers George Graham and Thomas Tompion. Typically driven by a clockwork mechanism and featuring the planets and their moons revolving around the sun, such devices served throughout the eighteenth century as a crucial means of illustrating the new Copernican view of the cosmos. But it is in this capacity that they served the ulterior purpose of demonstrating precisely the smallness of the individual in relation to the vastness of the cosmos. This paper examines the ways in which those living in the eighteenth century—scientists, artists, writers—reckoned with this unwelcome and ultimately terrifying facet of modernity.

A reception will follow the seminar. This program is free and open to the public, but registration in advance is required. Register online at: http://www.newberry.org/renaissance.

Sponsored by the University of Chicago, DePaul University, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago; and organized by Timothy Campbell, University of Chicago; Lisa Freeman, University of Illinois at Chicago; John Shanahan, DePaul University; and Helen Thompson, Northwestern University.

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