Welcome to my web site.
I am a historian of science working at the Centro Interuniversitário de História das Ciências e da Tecnologia, at the University of Lisbon (CIUHCT-UL), and I teach at the Master Program in the History and Philosophy of Science.

Here you'll find information on my research, my papers, books and other topics. I have a number of on-going projects with students and collaborators and will post some information here.

Research that's keeping me busy:

The edition of Pedro Nunes's Works (Obras de Pedro Nunes), by the Lisbon Academy of Sciences and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is still my most absorbing project. The first six volumes are published: that is, ALL printed works by Pedro Nunes are now available in a modern, annotated edition. They can be bought at the Bookshop of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. The volume on Nunes' manuscripts (vol. VII) is nearly completed; it should be ready in a couple of months. I am already working hard on vol. VIII (biographical materials and documents). See here for updated information.

I am working with Bernardo Mota on the edition of Francisco de Melo's
mathematical works. Melo (ca. 1490-1536) was a fine mathematician, perhaps the best Portuguese mathematician in the generation before Pedro Nunes. Bernardo and I had been interested in this text for some time, but the appearance of a superb manuscript in Germany last year gave us an extra motivation. See here for more information.

Rui Magone (in Berlin) is one of my best friends and an expert sinologist. I am working with him on the edition of the Tianwenlüe 天问略 [Epitome of Questions on the Heavens], a very important astronomical text written in China in 1614/15 by the Portuguese Manuel Dias. The text contains the first report of Galileo's telescopic discoveries (of 1609-1611) to appear in Chinese. You can check the blog where we discuss our progress. See here for more information.

Some months ago, Joaquim Gaspar (a researcher at our group) entered my office and showed me, in just 2 minutes, how Gerard Mercator could have made his famous 1569 map. This problem (one of the major puzzles in historical cartography) had interested me for many years and I discussed it with Joaquim many times. But the solution he suggested was absolutely remarkable and completely unexpected (at least to me). Joaquim and I have now greatly developed the original idea, both from a technical/numerical and from an historical point of view. We presented our work in several places, including the Mercator Conference in Sint-Niklaas, last April and wrote two papers on this topic. The first one is already online: Joaquim Alves Gaspar and Henrique Leitão, "Squaring the Circle: How Mercator constructed his Projection in 1569", Imago Mundi, 66 (2014) 1-24. 

Luana Giurgevich and I have been engaged for some years on a major research about old libraries in Portugal and scientific books. The objective is to put the study of the circulation of scientific books in Portugal in a solid empirical basis. Preliminary results were already communicated in conferences. Our book is scheduled to appear in 2014.


I am at the Editorial Board of HoST: Journal of History of Science and Technology. Be sure to check the latest issue.

I am at the Editorial Advisory Board of LIAS -Journal of Early Modern Intellectual Culture and its Sources.
Take a look at it.

Member of the «Conselho de Redacção» of Revista Brotéria.

April 2014. My paper with Samuel Gessner, "Euclid in tiles: the mathematical azulejos of the Jesuit college in Coimbra", Mathematische Semesterberichte, 61.1 (2014) 1-5 is now online.

February 28, 2014. 

Opening of the new exhibition at the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal (BNP): Luís Serrão Pimentel e a Ciência em Portugal no século XVII. (until April 30).
Curators: Miguel Soromenho and me.

November 2013. My paper with Joaquim Gaspar ("Squaring the Circle: How Mercator constructed his Projection in 1569", Imago Mundi, 66 (2014) 1-24) is online. This is the first of two papers that (finally, we hope) explain how Mercator did it.

October 2013. Here is the online version of my paper: "Dez anos de estudos sobre Pedro Nunes, 2002-2012. Uma bibliografia(accepted for publication in the Memórias da Academia das Ciências de Lisboa). An extensive bibliography of recent works about Pedro Nunes.

September 2013. António Fernandes and Ilda Rafael interviewed me. See the latest issue of Educação e Matemática. Revista da Associação de Professores de Matemática (for subscribers only).

July 2013. Together with Bernardo Mota, we've put up a new site: Francisco de Melo and the Euclidean Tradition in Portugal.

March to June 2013. 
360º Science Discovered.
Exhibition on Portuguese and Spanish Science
during the 15th and 16th centuries.
Lisbon, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
From March 2 to June 2.

February 10, 2013. New improved site on Alvarus Thomas (Samuel Gessner and I).

January/February 2013. I was interviewed by Info-Ciências about my recent election as effective member of the International Academy for the History of Science, the supervision of students, and the importance of the history of science. CiênciaHoje and newspaper Público also had pieces about me and my work.


This Semester (February to June 2014) I am teaching two courses. Together with Marta Lourenço I am teaching "História da Ciência e da Técnica em Portugal", at the Master Program in History and Philosophy of Science. Tuesdays, 16h00-19h00. I am also teaching an undergraduate course, "Ciência da Antiguidade ao Renascimento", Wednesdays, 9h30-11h30, and Fridays 9h30-12h00, Faculty of Sciences, Lisbon.

Recent and next speaking engagements:

20 March. Invited talk "Realism in Science - From the point of view of the history of science", Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon.

9 May. Invited Opening Lecture ("Que quer dizer exactamente 'ciência ibérica' ?") at the Simpósio História e Ciência, Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto.

19 May. Talk at the Workshop on Cosmography, Max Planck Institut für Wssenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin.

2 June. Talk at the "Seminário: A Restauração da Companhia de Jesus em Portugal e no Oriente, 1814-2014". Fundação Oriente, Lisboa.

16 October. Invited plenary talk [with Joaquim Alves Gaspar] at the 7º Encontro Luso-Brasileiro de História da Matemática, Óbidos.

Subpages (1): Old Stuff