Aarhus Universitetsforlag

An Observer of Observatories

The Journal of Thomas Bugge's Tour of Germany, Holland and England in 1777

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220 pages ill.
ISBN 978 87 7934 311 5

Edited by


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About the book

In 1777, the Danish astronomer Thomas Bugge (1740-1815) was appointed professor of mathematics and astronomy at the University of Copenhagen. Keen to modernize the existing observatory on top of the Round Tower, he travelled through Germany to Holland and England to learn more about the state of astronomy and instrument-making in these countries. During his tour he kept a journal in which he noted what he saw, whom he met and which books and instruments he bought. He also included dozens of sketches and drawings, which greatly add to the historical value of his manuscript.

The document lay undiscovered in the Royal Library at Copenhagen until 1969, when Kurt Møller Pedersen found it and prepared a provisional transcript. Forty years later, this journal is now made available and Bugge's drawings are complemented by portraits of academics and instrumentmakers and by photos of buildings and instruments, many of which survive in museums today. This richly illustrated and fully annotated edition of Bugge's travel journal will be of value for anyone who is interested in the history of science and technology in the 18th century.

Associate Professor Kurt Møller Pedersen is a historian of science at the Department of Science Studies, Aarhus University. Since 1966 he has lectured in physics, mathematics, history and philosophy of science. His research fields cover science since the Renaissance.

Dr Peter de Clercq is a Dutch historian living in London. For many years, he worked at the Museum Boerhaave, the Dutch National Museum of the History of Science and Medicine. He is currently editor of the journal Antiquarian Horology.

Press reviews

"This handsomely produced, annotated and illustrated book, available in Danish and English, is the long-anticipated scholarly edition of a text that is of great significance to historians of scientific instruments, observatories and machinery in the eighteenth century."

Rebekah Higgitt, Royal Observatory, Greenwich

"Thomas Bugge's journal is one of only four by astronomers of this period. Its detailed notes and sketches make it a unique view of observatory equipment and practice. The editors' expert contextual annotations and modern illustrations transform this private journal into a handsomely produced essential reference book deserving a place in every specialist's and academic library."

Roger Hutchins, Journal for the History of Astronomy

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