A brief history of anagrams, science & the Renaissance

A brief history of anagrams, science & the Renaissance

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 | lhancock@eou.edu

May 6, 2013
– Nicole Howard, Ph.D., associate professor of history, shares her knowledge of anagrams for the next colloquium Thursday, May 9 at EOU.

Older than acrostics and tougher than crosswords, anagrams were once a critical means of protecting intellectual property. Howard explains how these word jumbles were particularly important in early modern science, when new astronomical theories, mathematical formulas and inventions could be hidden in them and revealed when the creator felt so inclined.

From scientists, physicians, kings and satirists, Howard offers a brief history of anagrams and their uses. Her research emphasizes how playful wordsmithing was, in fact, an effective way to fight the rampant piracy and plagiarism that emerged in the Renaissance with the advent of the printing press.

Howard’s presentation begins at 4 p.m. in Ackerman Hall, Room 210. It is free and open to the public. A reception with question and answer session will follow.

A list of related resources provided by EOU’s Pierce Library is available for more in-depth information on this topic. Visit http://library.eou.edu/colloquium. To be added to the colloquium mailing list call 541-962-3508.

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