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New Science Primary Source Sets from the Library of Congress: Weather Forecasting and Scientific Data

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A diagram by Samuel F.B. Morse from the 1850s
A diagram by Samuel F.B. Morse from the 1850s

From a centuries-old barometer to a twenty-first century climate map, from diagrams of optical phenomena drawn by Isaac Newton to forest-health charts created by West Virginia volunteers, two new primary source sets from the Library of Congress provide rich opportunities to explore the scope and nature of scientific endeavor.

These two new sets, Weather Forecasting and Scientific Data: Observing, Recording, and Communicating Information, each include primary sources from the collections of the Library of Congress, together with background information and teaching suggestions.

Weather Forecasting takes a look at attempts to understand and predict the weather across the centuries, and includes early weather equipment, newspaper debates on the impact of forecasting, and notes by amateur weather watchers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

U.S. Weather Bureau snow gauge, ca 1910
U.S. Weather Bureau snow gauge, ca 1910

Scientific Data: Observing, Recording, and Communicating Information brings together examples of the many different ways scientists have used words, numbers, and drawings to record and communicate their efforts to make sense of the natural world. Reports, maps, notes, letters, and sketches from thinkers as wide-ranging as Robert Hooke, John James Audubon, Alexander Graham Bell, and Eadweard Muybridge help showcase scientists’ efforts to document their investigations, as well as offering glimpses into the nature of science.

Please explore these rich new sets, and let us know what you discover.

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