Word of the Day: Astrarium

By Carl Zimmer | April 19, 2008 1:37 pm

word of the dayLauren writes:

“I’m not a scientist by trade, but I am, in fact, a huge nerd. I study 18th-century British literature, including scientific literature. It was a wild time to be in science. It was also the heyday of the orrery, which provided the initial impetus for my tattoo. (Orreries, as it turned out, involve too many circles to make them feasible for inking on a large scale.) Then I discovered & fell in love with the comprehensive diagrams in Giovanni de’Dondi’s 1364 Il Tractatus Astarii–the plans for the first famous astrarium. My backpiece is of the Mercury wheelwork. Of course, you couldn’t track Mercury with it–de’Dondi followed Ptolemy–but I find his Astrarium a lovely & impressive testament to human ingenuity & curiosity.”

Carl: It took sixteen years for de’Dondi’s astrarium to be built, but it was later destroyed. See a reconstruction here. And read about de’Dondi here.

Click here to go to the full Science Tattoo Emporium.

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Comments (2)

  1. Chris

    Normally, I rank being shown tattoos up there with photos of people’s babies and pets, but this I love this site! …oh, and, why can’t I meet women like this?

  2. Andrew

    beautiful! i love it.

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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.

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