Science News Roundup: Old School Printing

Engraving of printer using the early Gutenberg...

Now that’s old school. Thirteen years and $8 million later, scribes in Wales have finally completed their hand-drawn and illustrated version of the St. John’s Bible.  The work was commissioned by the Benedictine monks at St. John’s Abbey and St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota and funded primarily by donations. Eighteen gorgeously illustrated pages from “Letters and Revelation” will be on display in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts through November 13. A second exhibit, which will include 44 pages from the “Wisdom Books” and “Prophets” will go on display at the New Mexico History Museum on October 21. Can’t catch either show? Consider purchasing a Heritage Edition, a full-size facsimile of the entire 1150-page seven-volume work, available for a mere $140,000. Yeah, I know, this isn’t really a science news story, but doesn’t it give you a better understanding of how profoundly the development of the Gutenberg press changed access to knowledge in our world?

Old School Printing continues below the fold with:

  • Inventor of e-books, founder of Project Gutenberg, Michael Hart, dies at 64
  • There’s an award Eric Carle hasn’t won yet?

Inventor of ebooks, Founder of Project Gutenberg dies: Speaking of ready access to knowledge, Caterpickles bids a fond farewall to Michael Hart, who reportedly invented the ebook when he typed the US Declaration of Independence onto a computer and posted it to the fledgling Internet on a whim in 1971. For his next trick, he used the computers at the University of Illinois to launch Project Gutenberg, a volunteer-driven organization that offers users access to more than 36,000 free ebooks in 60 different languages. As Hart said in July 2011 when reflecting on his work at Project Gutenberg, “One thing about ebooks that most people haven’t thought much is that ebooks are the very first thing that we’re all able to have as much as we want other than air. Think about that for a moment and you realize we are in the right job.”

So, what about you? What caught your eye this week?

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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