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Relics of Science History For Sale At Christie's 142

circletimessquare writes "Dennis Overbye at the New York Times has some ruminations on some of the historical totems of science going up for auction at Christie's next week. There is the 1543 copy of 'De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium' by Copernicus, which you can have for $900,000 to $1.2 million. If you have some cash left over, maybe you can pick up an original work by Galileo, Darwin, Descartes, Newton, Freud, Kepler, Tycho Brahe, or Malthus. And then there is the 1878 copy of the world's first phone book: 'a shock of recognition — that people were already talking on the phone a year before Einstein was born. In fact, just two years later Einstein's father went into the nascent business himself. Einstein grew up among the rudiments of phones and other electrical devices like magnets and coils, from which he drew part of the inspiration for relativity. It would not be until 1897, after people had already made fortunes exploiting electricity, that the English scientist J. J. Thomson discovered what it actually was ...'"
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Relics of Science History For Sale At Christie's

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  • by Jason1729 ( 561790 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @01:39PM (#23730135)
    At least in the modern usage, a "psychologist" doesn't have a degree in medicine at all. a "psychiatrist" does.

    Other than that, I agree, Freud should not be on a list of scientists.

    Then again, Tycho Brahe took Copernicus' heliocentric model and tried to revert us back to a geocentric model to appease the church, so I don't think he deserves the title either.
  • phones (Score:5, Interesting)

    by syrinx ( 106469 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @01:49PM (#23730353) Homepage
    Recently found an old newspaper ad, circa mid-1890s, for my great-grandfather's grocery store. Despite living in semi-rural Indiana, they apparently had one of the newfangled phones, as the ad listed their phone number. It was "12".
  • by choas ( 102419 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @01:51PM (#23730399)
    Just a weird thought, what's to stop a kook from buying this, burning it and to call any pictures/copies a fake ?

    scratch that, even if he/she doesn't call it a fake but just burns it out of spite, can anybody keep this from happening ?

    Isn't there a 'Library of humanity' (sponsored by us all) to which pieces like this should go ?
  • Re:Ugh... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by east coast ( 590680 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:02PM (#23730645)
    Why? Assuming that the texts of these works are available who cares what happens to the originals or early editions? It's almost like owning a mother master of Dark Side of the Moon... is it neat and historical? Absolutly, but I can still get out my CD and listen to it all the same. Nothing of value is lost.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:49PM (#23733473)
    What's annoying about Freud is that he doesn't get credit for the things that he got right: those passed into common usage. The things he got wrong are held against him as if he were still trying to treat hysteria by fumigation of the vagina, or psychosomatic paralysis by horrific treatments. Compare the Freudian "talking cure" with the "treatments" of the clinically insane that were current when he began developing psycho-analysis.

    What are some of those things that Freud got right? The Unconcious, or the discovery that oftentimes people mean something other than what they appear to be saying. You can criticize him for a clumsy ontology, BUT his thinking about how the mind works did evolve over the years. It's not exactly correct to speak of "the Freudian conception of mind or of the Unconcious". He developed and discarded more than a couple of models.

    The talking cure? It sure beats the hell out of cold water treatments, deprivations of food and sleep, and god only knows what "cures" some of the Victorians came up with. The talking cure is taken today as self-evident. But it wasn't always that way.

    If we judge Freudian psycho-analysis by current expectations, experiences, and understandings of how the brain projects and makes personality manifest, then yeah, sure he was the worst kind of charlatan. How else, then, could millions of otherwise intelligent people have been so very easily hoodwinked?

    However, it should also be kept in mind that is a horribly mean-spirited way of treating any thinker. If nothing else, this shows an appalling lack of imagination and capacity for understanding other human beings. "He does not talk like us, therefore he must be wrong,horribly wrong on all points, in general and in particular."

    The value of Freud lies in the simple fact that oftentimes his errors are not so very simple That is assuming, the effort is made to grasp what he wrote, and not simply rely on what "everyone knows to be true" about Freud and psycho-analysis.
  • Re:phones (Score:4, Interesting)

    by syrinx ( 106469 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:21PM (#23736001) Homepage
    Unfortunately I don't have it with me -- it's back with a lot of other family records and things in my parents' basement, and, contrary to popular belief, I don't live there. ;)

    I could probably get a picture or scan of it eventually, but this Slashdot discussion will be long since archived.

    Also, since posting that earlier today I'm thinking I might have misremembered the number. It was definitely two digits, but it might have been slightly higher, something like "52". Either way, I found it pretty interesting.

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