The Sceptical Chymist (1661)
The Sceptical Chymist (1661). This title page is from the first edition of this work by the Anglo-Irish natural philosopher Robert Boyle (1627-1691). In this book, written in the form of a discourse (dialogue), Boyle wrote that elements combine to form compounds, which can be broken apart again into their constituent elements. He also argued for chemistry to become an experimental science in its own right, speaking out against the influence of alchemists and spagyrists (alchemists who used herbal medicines). This work is considered a founding text of modern chemistry. It was first published in English, and later translated into Latin.
© GREGORY TOBIAS/CHEMICAL HERITAGE FOUNDATION/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Indian Smoothbore .656 in musket, Pattern 1858
Indian Smoothbore .656 in musket, Pattern 1858, lock dated 1856.Converted from a Pattern 1853 Enfield rifle-musket in India 1858 (c), this exceptionally rare item was part of an original issue of 10, 000 weapons sold by the British Government to the East Indian Company in 1856. These weapons were a contributory cause of the Indian Mutiny because of the belief that animal fat had been incorporated in the grease for the cartridges. After the Mutiny, most Indian troops were issued with smooth-bore muskets which at the same time were to look similar to Enfield rifles. In this case the original rifling was bored out and a locally-made ramrod fitted. Also, a simple fixed backsight replaced the graduated rear sight of the Enfield.Now in poor condition, it is identified by the faint stamp on the butt of the EIC lion rampant regardment and holding the crown. In addition the initials 'WD' (War Department) over the broad arrow combined with 'I' (India) and the date 1856 are present. The weapon was subsequently bored smooth and re-sighted to conform with the pattern 1858-1859 .656in muskets for Native Infantry. Date: 1858
© The National Army Museum / Mary Evans Picture Library
Transit of Venus, historical artwork
Transit of Venus, historical artwork. These drawings of the transit of Venus across the Sun were produced by Captain James Cook (1728-1779) and Charles Green (1735-1771). Cook and Green both travelled to Tahiti to view the 1769 transit. When Venus passes directly between the Earth and the Sun, it is seen as a small disc that obscures part of the Sun. This phenomenon is rare, as it occurs in pairs that are spaced by eight years and each pair then has over 100 years between them. Only seven Venus transits have occurred since the invention of the telescope (in 1631, 1639, 1761, 1769, 1874, 1882 and 2004). The next 21st century transit is on 6th June 2012. Engraving from Philosophical Transactions volume 61 (1772).
© Royal Astronomical Society/Science Photo Library