Category Archives: School of Mathematics

Copernicus x Smith

The University’s Iconics Collection holds some of the institution’s most valued and treasured items, and the recent push for more digitisation of the University of Edinburgh collections has meant that the Iconic items are a high priority.

Recently I digitised Copernicus’ De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (The Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres). Copernicus is regarded as one of the central figures of the Scientific Revolution for his heliocentric theory. It is considered one of the key works in the history of western astronomy as it brought forth a new theory about the Universe and our place in it at a time where it was widely believed that everything in the Universe orbited a motionless, central Earth. It was also the first open criticism against Aristotelian and Ptolemic systems, which in addition to claiming Earth was central, employed the classical ideal of ‘celestial motions’ being eternally uniform and circular.  Continue reading

Outdoor Exhibition Bristo Square

Images created by the Digital Imaging Unit feature in a new exhibit outside the Dugald Stewart Building in Bristo square. It is fantastic to see how well our images respond to being enlarged many times beyond the original object size. It justifies our workflow of capture once at high quality re-purpose many times. Indeed these images were created at various times and were pulled together from our online resource for this exhibit. This exhibit also makes us keenly aware of the importance of our colour management workflow. We use hardware to colour calibrate our monitors after every 200 hours of use and it pays off when you see the images in an unusual format greatly enlarged and in broad daylight.

Malcolm Brown, Deputy Photographer


Facit Calculator Photography

0055792dThe Digital Imaging Unit recently had the mechanical calculating machine from the Godfrey Thomson Project to photograph. The calculator has this beautifully resolved logo which struck me as a little unusual for such an early and niche product. However discovering the company was Swedish explains such attention to design. The swift rise and decline of the company is a stark warning about ignoring research, development and competition

The calculator was photographed using the DIU infinity table lit from below with key and fill lighting arranged carefully to maximize all the detail and information present in the calculator. This was a challenge given the black colour and metallic reflective nature of the material. In addition multiple exposures were taken and the final set of images were assembled in Adobe Photoshop.

Malcolm Brown