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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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  • Science: Relics of Science History For Sale At Christie's

    ... 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.
    Objection. Sigmund Freud may have been a psychologist but he was a far cry from a scientist. Tell me where he applied the scientific process in his work. Show me the universal laws he established.

    In a lot of respects, the man was nothing more than a cokehead [wikipedia.org] with a penchant for strange sexually oriented neurosis [wikipedia.org].

    He may have had a degree as a physician but I don't recall anything scientific about his work or any contributions to our understanding of the relationship between our psyche and flesh.
    • 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.
      • by Jabbrwokk ( 1015725 ) <grant...j...warkentin@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @01:48PM (#23730347) Homepage Journal
        Tycho Brahe [wikipedia.org] was a cornerstone for the development of modern astronomy:

        He is credited with the most accurate astronomical observations of his time, and the data was used by his assistant Kepler to derive the laws of planetary motion. No one before Tycho had attempted to make so many redundant observations, and the mathematical tools to take advantage of them had not yet been developed. He did what others before him were unable or unwilling to do -- to catalogue the planets and stars with enough accuracy so as to determine whether the Ptolemaic or Copernican system was more valid in describing the heavens.
        He meets the criteria of a scientist perfectly, regardless of his motivations. Plus, the dude lost his nose in a duel and wore a copper or gold one the rest of his life. How cool is that.
        • by doyoulikeworms ( 1094003 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:12PM (#23730881)
          Nopper nose? Nat's not as nool nas yu nink.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by thermian ( 1267986 )
          Don't forget he lived on an Island, which also housed his lab. Heck, if he turns out also to have had a white fluffy cat......
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          he had a pet elk, but it got drunk fell down some stairs and died :(
          • I thought you were joking! For anyone else who thought the same thing:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tycho_Brahe#Tycho.27s_elk_and_dwarf [wikipedia.org]

            ...his mentor the Landgraf Wilhelm of Hesse-Kassel asked whether there was an animal faster than a deer. Tycho replied, writing that there were none, but he could send his tame elk. When Wilhelm replied he would accept one in exchange for a horse, Tycho replied with the sad news that the elk had just died on a visit to entertain a nobleman at Landskrona. Apparently during dinner the elk had drunk a lot of beer, fallen down the stairs, and died.

        • The same wiki article talks about "Tycho's Geo-heliocentrism". As brilliant as he may have been, he tried to sabotage the progress of science. How can you count him among the ranks of some of the most brilliant scientific minds in history. Cataloging data is grunt work, and his contributions were trying to undo advance.

          Yeah, losing his nose in a duel shows how classy he is.
      • by jwkfs ( 1260442 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @01:49PM (#23730357)

        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.
        Brahe may not have contributed much himself, but his work was extremely important. He recorded in detail the appearance and position of the planets and stars over a large period of time, which later scientists -- such as Kepler -- used his data to determine and test important concepts. Like Kepler's laws.
        • by Crispy Critters ( 226798 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:21PM (#23731055)
          Carefully collected data has a value that outlasts all but the most fundamental and far-reaching theory. Conceptual frameworks can evolve and adapt, but they remain anchored by observations.

          This is not obvious because of the way science history is taught. We learn about the geniuses and a few of the classic blunders. We don't spend much time on the work that was merely not great. Consider the development of quantum mechanics and atomic structure. There were accurate atomic spectra, correct mathematical descriptions of the line spacing, and innumerable incorrect theories about the mechanism before there was a correct description. The spectral observations eventually led to a usable theory, even though they may have been used on the way to support ideas that turned out to be bunk.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward
            We learn about the geniuses and a few of the classic blunders

            Never get involved with a land war in Asia?
      • "Then again, Tycho Brahe took Copernicus' heliocentric model and tried to revert us back to a geocentric model to appease the church"

        So what? Copernicus always said his model only had operational significance by avoiding some hard work on the calculus of depherents at the price of being less exact than ptolemaic calculus, but it wasn't a real depict of the solar system, so are you going to ban Copernicus too?
    • Hey now, cocaine has given us lots of great things... Lindsey Lohan, Stephen King, Robert Loius Stevenson. Do you really think that Jules Verne would have made it around the world in 80 days with out a little bump now and then? Come now people, don't knock Freud because of his cocaine habits, knock him because he made you remember that weird night when you were four when you walked in on your parents.
    • freudian psychology is of course bulls***, exactly as you say

      it's like other pseudoscientific, yet highly influential lines of thought that have been thoroughly debunked like lamarckism [wikipedia.org], phlogiston [wikipedia.org], phrenology [wikipedia.org], etc.

      however, in the historical context, these topics are vitally important. modern psychology resembles freudian psychology like a modern ICBM resembles fireworks

      however, if it weren't for fireworks, you can be sure everything that came after would have never happened

      like alchemy: these guys were trying to make gold from lead. i think its kind of funny and ironic that centuries later, after refinements to chemistry, physics, etc., as a joke, some guys with some extra time at a heavy ion collider, did exactly that, convert lead into gold, as an afterthought. but they thereby reaffirmed the original goal of alchemists centuries before: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Particle_physics#History [wikipedia.org]

      so my bet is that centuries from now, deep in the cognitive research and brain engineering advances still centuries from us, someone will come across a rather nifty bit of freudian psychology as a major truth about how our brains work. and it will be funny, and everyone will have a bit of a laugh about it

      so don't belittle where you came from son. your great grandchildren will certainly laugh at your petty pursuits, but their pursuits are built on your shoulders. show some respect to freud and his silliness, it trailblazed
      • In my opinion the only thing that can be learned from Freud is how to get a degree is a very sober subject and still attract loads of chicks.

        My main problem with his work is that he took the results from rich, bored, sexually repressed wives and used it to generalise answers for the wider population.
    • I did aa psychology module in the first year of my degree, and they said that Freuds work was pretty much disproved. Certainly that it wasn't applied by any decent psychologists.

      As for trick cyclists, well I wouldn't know.
    • by hkmarks ( 1080097 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:35PM (#23731423)
      Freud was more of a theorist than an empiricist. He formulated hypotheses based on observations and case studies. Others tested his theories, and found many of them wrong or a little off. But not all of them: the idea of an unconscious mind (which is vital to current psychological theory), and of stress causing physical symptoms, are basically sound. Of course he didn't understand exactly why -- psychology was still in its infancy.

      Psychology generally doesn't work in terms of "universal laws" - it's the science of individual differences. Some discovery might be true in 30% of the population, have some bearing on about 40%, and be completely wrong for the other 30%. That doesn't mean it isn't true in 30%.

      Some people like the smell of tar and some hate it. There cannot be a universal law that says "tar smells bad." And just because an observation can't be explained correctly with the current state of knowledge doesn't mean it isn't science.

      I don't really like Freud either, and I think he was mostly a bad philosopher, but to say he didn't contribute anything to the modern understanding of the mind is just wrong.
      • Some people like the smell of tar and some hate it. There cannot be a universal law that says "tar smells bad."

        Very true.

        And just because an observation can't be explained correctly with the current state of knowledge doesn't mean it isn't science.

        Bzzzt! I'm sorry, that answer is incorrect. Vanna, tell him about his wonderful consolation prizes. The inability to provide an explanation is *exactly* what makes it not science. When you can formulate practical theories as to why some people like the smell o

        • by hkmarks ( 1080097 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:29PM (#23734667)
          I said "explain correctly." Freud did provide explanations. They were hypothetical. He didn't test them all. Others did, and disproved them, or found better explanations for them. He was only doing part of the scientific process himself, but he was still taking part in it.

          For an example, from Wikipedia:
          "Freud originally posited childhood sexual abuse as a general explanation for the origin of neuroses, but he abandoned this so-called "seduction theory" as insufficiently explanatory, noting that he had found many cases in which apparent memories of childhood sexual abuse were based more on imagination than on real events."

          Observation made, explanation given, explanation tested, explanation disproved. All by Freud himself.

          If a scientist said "I have observed X about light, therefore I propose that light is composed of particles," whether they are being scientific does not depend if they are right or not.
      • Doesn't really address the number of concrete thinkers that are using Methylphenidate, Adderall or any of the other common stimulant-based treatments for ADHD or intellectual performance in general.

        In this regard, he could simply be considered contemporary.
    • by Lapsarian ( 1073104 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:40PM (#23731543)
      First of all, Freud was a superb neurologist before he moved into the area of psychology. Second, you may disagree with his basic ideas, be believe me, it is basically impossible to have a discussion about Freud, about the mind, about even the validity of his ideas without using terms he invented. Giving us a solid linguistic foundation for being able to debate the validity of these ideas is a superb step towards true scientific understanding. Pre-Socratic philosophers believed that the all matter was composed of small particles of earth (and, later, fire). This is clearly nonsense, and not at all 'scientific', but without it, we would not have an idea to work against in order to move towards ideas of atomism and the makeup of matter. This is absolutely a contribution to science and the basis of scientific progress. Last: try reading Freud sometime instead of the terrible wikipedia pages on him, you will find a very modest writer who continually prefaced his essays with assertions that he was only beginning a study of the mind, one that he hoped would keep a close link to neuroscience, and the he was more than prepared to have all of his ideas overturned once more was discovered of the mysteries of the brain. He was wrong, no doubt, but so were many great scientists that paved the way for our current understanding of scientific 'truth'. thanks.
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        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 d
    • Freud was a neurologist, not a psychologist. What he did was called psychoanalysis, which believe it or not today is mostly practiced by psychiatrists (with MDs) and NOT psychologists (with PhDs or PsyDs). As a psychology major it drives me nuts that Freud is associated with psych, because psych is a science* (counseling is more of an art though, which is why psych never gets the respect it deserves) and his legacy of bullshit holds back the stature of modern research in behavioral and cognitive sciences.
    • And todays XKCD is relevant!

      http://xkcd.com/435/ [xkcd.com]
  • Ugh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jor-Al ( 1298017 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @01:34PM (#23730019)
    Am I the only one who finds it somewhat disgusting that rather then going into a museum these things are being sold to some private collector who will keep it locked up from the rest of the world?
    • Re:Ugh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @01:39PM (#23730111)
      Next time you go to a museum, look at the little plaques under the items. You know... The ones that say "On loan from the collection of..." A museum frequently does not have enough cash to buy everything it shows.
    • by djl4570 ( 801529 )
      Collectors with deep pockets often loan such items to museums or display them in their own museum.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "private collector who will keep it locked up from the rest of the world?"

      Private collectors regularly donate or lease their collections to museums for display. And what's to stop a private collector from making their own exhibit to show for a fee? If you would like to help support a museum, feel free to donate, but don't tell everyone that they must give up a portion of their income to support your own cause.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by east coast ( 590680 )
      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.
      • You answered you own post: is it neat and historical? Absolutly

        That in it self is enough to care
        • I'd care enough to see that they don't completely disappear but to think that they shouldn't find their way into a collectors hands? Not really. The information outweighs the media or the historical value of the media. If these same works were somehow destroyed in a fire or flood I wouldn't morn their passing.
      • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

        Nothing of value is lost.
        Dedicated Cthulhu Cultist since 4523 BC.
        Oh yeah? You try to call up Yog-Sothoth using only the Latin or Greek so-called translations *cough* of the Necronomicon sometime.
    • Re:Ugh... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Spudtrooper ( 1073512 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:03PM (#23730675)
      That cross belongs in a museum! </Indy>
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by maxume ( 22995 )
      Do your donations match your indignation?
    • Re:Ugh... (Score:5, Informative)

      by kbob88 ( 951258 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:26PM (#23731175)
      So I called my sister who works in museum curation and asked her about this. Here's her take on this:
      • Multiple copies of most books like this exist, so even after putting some in private hands, museums still have quite a few copies (usually).
      • Books going back as far as 1600 are usually really not that rare. They're rare enough to command $$ from collectors, but not so rare that museums and universities don't already have lots of copies.
      • The text itself is well known, and available in many other forms, that are easier to use than a 500 year old book.
      • Museums don't buy much stuff on the open market (although some). They are given stuff on loan (which is usually forever), or given it outright. Some well-funded museums do have large acquisition budgets.
      • Many museums actually sell a lot of stuff like this that they have been given, or when they want to refocus their collection. Usually they have to use the proceeds to acquire new items.
      • Most people don't really want to see rare, important books, plus they're hard to display effectively. There are exceptions (Book of Kells in Dublin). And science history is tough -- science museums do well with kids, and history museums do OK, but science history is a tough draw. Low attendance.
      • She wanted to know how much the parent poster has contributed to his local museums recently. A bit of 'money where your mouth is.'

      Her take in general: no big deal, happens all the time. They'd rather spend their precious acquisition money on extremely rare stuff of significant interest to the public or to scholars.
    • Re:Ugh... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by thermian ( 1267986 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:28PM (#23731221)
      if you check your history you will find that almost all major museum collections are the result of the work of private collectors.

      Take Tutankhamun. That entire excavation was the result of a private collectors interest in the subject.

      In the past they were frequently donated, such as on the death of the (typically extremely rich) owner, but nowadays many collections are worth serious money, so that's not an option that most would consider.

      My local museum has a set of 15th century Apprentice Indentures and land deeds that I donated to them 25 years ago. Had I realised what they were worth I'd have made it a loan. Semi permanently perhaps, but I shouldn't really have handed over what turned out to be many thousands of pounds worth of documentation.

      I don't feel too bad though, after all, they are particularly lovely documents, I doubt I could feel comfortable with them being anywhere but in a museum.
  • i knew i should have included a link to christie's site for the auction:

    http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/searchresults.aspx?intSaleID=21644#intSaleID=21644 [christies.com]

    some of this stuff is (relatively) cheap, if you stray away from the really big names. i'm talking names like angstrom, fahrenheit, ampere, babbage, von neumann, can be had for a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand bucks

    some of you may wonder what the fuss is all about, but to me, this stuff is awesome. its the fruits of the enlightment, the intellectual explosion of mankind, solid proof of the greatness of mankind, that you can buy and hold in your hands

    a lot of us here work in computer science. well, for $2500 you can own the first edition book of something that pretty much started the entire computer field, boolean logic:

    BOOLE, George (1815-1864). An Investigation of the Laws of Thought, on Which are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities. London: Macmillan and Co., 1854.

    http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=5084071 [christies.com]

    well, maybe not $2500 after i just hyped the dang thing

    christie's should be paying me a dang commission!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by houstonbofh ( 602064 )
      If that is still too high, I have 2 DEC RA50 disk packs I can sell you. Talk about scientific history!
    • Damn you, that was the one that stood out to me too, as being really cool and within budgetary reach.
      • Then you're really going to hate me now: you can buy your very own ENIGMA machine for $20K!!!

        I won't link to the listing so as to damper the hype :-)
        • I saw that one too. Very cool, but $20k falls outside of the "budgetary reach" thing for me, so no matter if you link it or not.
    • Its amazing how some "useless" things can create such an urge to spend all your money to get them.
    • Christie's are being naive, disingenuous or coy - they should know that those books, papers and documents will sell for about 10 times the quoted amounts. Take this scientific paper ("Waves and Motion.") by De Broglie [christies.com] Do you really think it will go for "$1,000 - $1,500"?

      If you (and by "you" I don't mean the OP speficically, but anyone) think so, I own a huge copper-plated statue in New York I am willing to sell you for cheap.

      Seriously though, I guess these ridiculously low "estimates" serve only one purpose
  • 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".
    • Re:phones (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sammy baby ( 14909 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @01:57PM (#23730513) Journal
      I don't suppose there's any chance you could scan and post that somewhere, could you? Because that is cool.
      • 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.
      • if you publish your info like that, before you know it, crank callers will be dialing "12" day and night, and you'll never get any sleep form the constant ringing
    • Sounds like a local switchboard number. Likely it wouldn't work for anywhere farther than a few miles away. Its like someone omitting the area code when they give out a number in a local ad.
      • Sounds like a local switchboard number. Likely it wouldn't work for anywhere farther than a few miles away.

        The rural telephone in 1890 doesn't have long distance service.

        It doesn't have a dial.

        Every connection is made manually by an operator or - much later - through a chain of operators.

    • It was "12".

      Almost as cool as /. UID 12.
      I think that belongs to Tycho Brahe... første indlæg!

    • 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".

      Ahh yes, those were the days of POTSv2, before we had POTSv7 for local calls and POTSv10 for long-distance. You should have heard the arguments against something more than POTSv2... the idea of every person having his own POTS "address" was odd back then.

      • by Sloppy ( 14984 )
        I think the idea was that NAT would block telemarketers. It worked, too. Sure, you couldn't receive any calls at all, but Bell didn't let people run their own servers anyway.
    • by Yewbert ( 708667 )
      I'm from semi-rural Indiana, and would love to see a scan of this, as well.
    • by dhj ( 110274 ) *
      That is cool. I, like several other posters, would love to see that too. However, please do NOT scan it using a flatbed scanner or anything like that. The head and intense light of a scanner would not be good for such an old clipping. It would take a decent camera and tripod to get a flashless photo of the clipping. If you have those things on hand it would be awesome to see.
  • I certainly don't mind the story and I don't wink at the significance of the items but...

    Science history just seems a bit overbearing to me. Not that I don't agree that we need to know our past to understand our future or any of the other little axioms about history.

    I think it extends from a funk that I felt about matter in my college years. I had an astronomy class that I really was hoping was going to be a bit better than what I expected from an intro course. There is such a ton of knowledge to cover wi
    • by choas ( 102419 )
      I would think of it like this:

      The tomb of Tutankhamun was very impressive...

      The piramid around it, though made out of plain rock/stone/whatever (IANAA) is BLOODY impressive as well and teaches us much about the construction and the time of the tomb itself.

      It's like a biologist that buys his wife a pearl without knowing what an oyster is...

      Sorry, hard to explain...
      • Really? So you know the history of all the technology and science that you use? Not to say I'm completely ignorant as I've been around the track a few times at this point but when it comes down to it there is no difference in my life as far as how the stuff works when it comes down it's history. For example, it means much much less to me to know who invented USB as to know how USB works. The same with astronomy, it's much more useful for me to know what exists compared to who discovered it.

        It's great to kn
        • by choas ( 102419 )
          No, I do not understand the history of all technology and everything I use.

          But knowing the history sometimes helps me identify/deduce(?) the funcion of certain thing and allows me to fix and improve certain things.

          Times are almost gone that I could improve my C code because we knew assembler, compilers are getting to smart for me, yet still, I can imagine some historical stuff propagating and still staying true to its core.

          Maybe I mistook your post, and you were pointing more at the persons in history thems
          • Even their ideas to some degree can afford to be dismissed at this point. Knowing that people once thought that the Earth was the center of things really isn't all too important aside from the fact that it was disproved mathematically and the methods to disprove it. Ultimately even knowing that information would play little part in the understanding of astronomy for someone who is working in the field today since we've progressed well beyond the misunderstanding.
        • I think the real difference here is an evolutionary vs revolutionary principle. The USP port was just an evolutionary step in the development of computer peripherals, and didn't have much of an impact beyond your computer. Kepler did some great astronomy, but he also helped usher in an intellectual movement that turned away from the superstitious, mystical mindset that predated him and into a more rational, materialistic view of the world that impacted society, government, art, technology and almost every
  • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by damienl451 ( 841528 )
      From a purely utilitarian standpoint, all these books can be burned. There are many copies (which are known to be genuine) and, besides the cool-factor of owning a piece of history, these books are rather useless. The text they contain, which is available elsewhere, may be valuable in that it preservers ideas that impacted the world tremendously, but that's about it.

      Why exactly would we want to fund (read 'have to pay taxes for') a "Library of humanity". How many people are interested in traveling hundred

      • by choas ( 102419 )
        Yes, no, maybe

        I am usually inclined to a classical point of view as opposed to the romantic one (ZATAOMM ofcourse), yet still I think science is our greatest history, and a million copies (free) do not resemble the original (minor cost) in this case, for me.

        I have about 6 copies of 1984 but the facsimile is the most dear to me... weird.
      • There are many copies

        their is no way to tell what information is still stored only in the original, that could be lost. Sure the pure science can't be lost, but to be able to verify timelines, genetic lines for example may be (who handled it and when). Who would have imagined 100 years ago what DNA could do, so many stories that could be told in so much more depth were lost to us. Who knows what future science could still learn, about the times when these were published, if they are properly stored. pe

  • by scipiodog ( 1265802 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @01:52PM (#23730425)

    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 ...'"

    No way! Everyone knows Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity flying his kite, with a key attached...

  • '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 ...'

    A shocking story. People making money off some natural phenomenon or other before others have had a fair crack at discovering it! The same thing happened to Newton. How would they feel, I wonder, if his his forebears had discovered gravity, and Newton had been bringing down fruit from trees for millennia already? Or if the Australian aborigines had been the ones discovering their land, and Cap'n Cook had been the one living there!

    We should put an end to these self-appointed "scientists".

Refreshed by a brief blackout, I got to my feet and went next door. -- Martin Amis, _Money_