Lecture Notes Given by John Tran on Natural Philosophy (Session 1687-88)

Glasgow: 1687-1688
Sp Coll MS Gen 765

These Latin lecture notes predate the establishment of the chair of Astronomy at the University of Glasgow. They record lectures in Natural Philosophy given by John Tran (d.1704), Regent of the University.

The decorated manuscript title page identifies the scribe as Thomas Clarke, and the following page identifies his 32 classmates. Section 3 of Part 2, Chapter 1, deals with astronomy. Tran’s discussion opens with a brief overview of developments in the science from its origins to the hypotheses of Copernicus and Tycho Brahe. Ptolemy’s geocentric cosmology and hypotheses about the sun, moon and planets are then set out, complemented by numerous diagrams, some with whimsical ornamentation. Copernicus’ heliocentric system is illustrated, as is Tycho Brahe’s modified geocentric model, in which the earth is at rest and the sun revolves around it. The other planets revolve around the sun, not the earth, with Mercury and Venus revolving in orbits with radii smaller than the solar orbit and Mars, Jupiter and Saturn revolving in much larger orbits which encircle the earth.

 Lecture Notes on Natural Philosophy, University of Glasgow, 1687-88
Image: page of lecture notes on natural philosophy featuring an elaborate diagram.

Go to the next book in the exhibition: Alexander Wilson: Observations on the Solar Spots