Why collect scientific books?
Science and printing are deeply intertwined. Today scientists fly to international conferences and use the internet to share their insights, but until recently print was the fundamental medium through which scientists made their discoveries public. The development of nearly all that characterises modern life — including the internet, the planes that ship scholars and smartphones around the world, and the atomic energy that powers it all — is recorded in books.
To hold in your hands an example of a book that singlehandedly re-organized our idea of the solar system, such as Copernicus’s De Revoltionibus Orbium Coelestium, or of the work that introduced the idea that life-forms evolved over millions of years — Darwin’s On the Origin of Species — is a humbling experience.