On the history of vision, optics, and the neurosciences
Nicholas J. WADE
The Burndy Library was founded by Bern Dibner in 1936, and has grown into a remarkable research resource for historians of science. We are celebrating its move to the Huntington Library at San Marino. Dibner also assembled an impressive portrait collection of scientific worthies from the past. His fascination with the history of science was encapsulated in his book Heralds of Science, in which a selection of two hundred items from his collection were classified under the headings of Astronomy, Botany, Chemistry, Electricity and Magnetism, General Science, Geology, Mathematics, Medicine, Physics, Technology, and Zoology. I will try to combine Dibner’s delights in history and in portraiture by presenting ‘perceptual portraits’ of scientists from his collection under the headings he provided: they tend to meld title pages or frontispieces of books with portraits of their authors, but a range of other motifs are also embraced. The deliberations of the scientists were not restricted to the categories Dibner assigned them to; many made observations on vision, optics and the brain, and it is these aspects of their endeavours that will be emphasised.
12th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the
History of the Neurosciences (ISHN)