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"Weird Science: A History of Human Knowledge"

Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library


Co-sponsored by the Ann Johnson Institute for Science, Technology & Society, and University Libraries, Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. In the Ernest F Hollings Special Collections Library through December 20, 2017. Free and open to the public.

From the exhibit:
Microscope technology was still emergent when
Filippo Bonanni (1638-1725), an Italian Jesuit scholar,
produced Micrographia cvriosa… in 1703.


Alchemy, animal magnetism, phlogiston theory, phrenology – all were once strongly held scientific beliefs that have now been debunked. "Weird Science: A History of Human Knowledge" brings together books, essays, advertisements, old-time “medicine” bottles, and other remnants of early scientific thinking.

From the exhibit:
Dr. Scott’s Electric Flesh Brush, c. 1880s,
on loan from Dr. Carter Bays,
Distinguished Professor Emeritus,
USC Computer Science and Engineering.
The brush was said to cure internal ailments
as well as those of the skin.

This major exhibit traces the history of science with an emphasis on the odd, the unique, and the wonderful. Organized by theme, the cases highlight the changes in human thought over time using the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collection’s rich holdings in natural philosophy and materials from the antebellum core collection of the South Caroliniana Library. Each item in the exhibit was selected to illustrate humanity’s desire for knowledge and, it is hoped, inspire further inquiry.

The Hollings Library is located on the University of South Carolina campus. Enter through the Thomas Cooper Library at 1322 Greene St., Columbia SC 29208. Driving and parking directions can be found here.

The Hollings Library is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Open Gallery events are held on specially selected Saturdays throughout the academic year. For more information, call 803-777-3847.