Take Note

An exploration of note-taking in Harvard University Collections
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51. Epitome of Mr. [Samuel] Williams's Experimental Lectures

Using math to learn science

Samuel Williams
Thomas Crafts

Harvard University, 1782

This notebook, dating from April to June in 1782 and believed to have been created by a student named Thomas Crafts, contains notes taken during Hollis Professor Samuel Williams' "experimental lectures" (lectures on natural philosophy, or early science). It contains notes on twenty lectures, covering the topics of "properties of a body" (extension, solidity, divisibility, mobility, figurability, and inertia); the powers of attraction, gravity and repulsion; the "Congress of bodies, and their effects"; the use of the pendulum; centripetal and centrifugal forces; the lever and the pulley; the wheel, screw and wedge; hydrostatics; hydraulics; pneumatics; fire; magnetism; electricity; optics; dioptrics; and astronomy. These notes indicate that Williams' lectures involved hands-on experiments, providing the students first-hand and immediate knowledge of some of the concepts they were studying.

The cover of this paper-bound volume is a recycled sheet that appears to have previously been used to solve a mathematical problem set. One problem was to "find the superficial contents of a circle" and another was to find the contents (area) of a polygon. The student's work, including calculations and diagrams, are visible on this cover sheet.

HOLLIS Catalog: 012521868
Thomas Crafts, Samuel Williams, Class notes, experiments, Harvard University



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