Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680) -- German Jesuit, occultist, polymath - was one of most curious figures in the history of science. He dabbled in all the mysteries of his time: the heavenly bodies, sound amplification, museology, botany, Asian languages, the pyramids of Egypt -- almost anything incompletely understood. Kircher coined the term electromagnetism, printed Sanskrit for the first time in a Western book, and built a famous museum collection. His wild, beautifully illustrated books are sometimes visionary, frequently wrong, and yet compelling documents in the history of ideas. They are being rediscovered in our own time. This volume contains new essays on Kircher and his world by leading historians and historians of science, including Stephen Jay Gould, Ingrid Rowland, Anthony Grafton, Daniel Stoltzenberg, Paula Findlen, and Barbara Stafford.-

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