It was from the villa, Uraniborg, and from the nearby observatory, Stjerneborg, that Tycho made his celestial observations. These buildings disappeared soon after Tycho left the island of Hven in 1597, and our understanding of them and their part in Tycho's life is less certain. They must be reconstructed from what Tycho wrote about them, the diagrams and pictures he made and published, and what little archaeological evidence remains. One of those who regarded Uraniborg, not long after Tycho's death in 1601, was the German chemist Andreas Libavius, who interpreted Uraniborg as a place of contemplation. But laboratory plans are not just for contemplation. Tycho's, presumably, reflect the actual Uraniborg and Stjerneborg, which were active scientific research facilities. If we wish to approach a fuller understanding of what these plans represent and how the ideological roots of Tycho's science fit into the history of early modern laboratory science, both the plans and Libavius's critique of them ought to be regarded in a broader historical context. This is the purpose of this paper.
Isis. Journal of the History of Science Society
- Pub Date:
- June 1993