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. I am presently Head of the Department for 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 ongoing projects with students and collaborators and will post some information here.
Research that's keeping me busy:
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.
Joaquim Gaspar. A few years ago we investigated the origins of the Mercator Projection -- and got some remarkable results; more recently we looked into the first charts with visual depictions of magnetic information, namely isogonic lines. This is a very important topic and we are reaching some startling conclusions. (Our papers on the origin of the Mercator projection: Joaquim Alves Gaspar and Henrique Leitão, "Squaring the Circle: How Mercator constructed his Projection in 1569", Imago Mundi, 66 (2014) 1-24; Henrique Leitão and Joaquim Alves Gaspar, "Globes, rhumb tables and the pre-history of the Mercator projection", Imago Mundi, 66 (2014) 180-195; Joaquim Alves Gaspar and Henrique Leitão, "How Mercator Did it in 1569: From Tables of Rhumbs to a Cartographic Projection", Newsletter of the European Mathematical Society, nº99 (March 2016) 44-49.)
Luana Giurgevich and I have been engaged for some years on a major research about old libraries in Portugal. Our initial objective was to study the circulation of scientific books in Portugal but we soon realized that a broader approach was needed. We ended up examining in detail the contents of hundreds of old libraries - Luana's archival research has been truly outstanding. The result is our recent book: Clavis Bibliothecarum: Catálogos e Inventários de Livrarias de Instituições Religiosas em Portugal até 1834 - an exhaustive list of nearly 1.000 catalogues of ca. 400 ancient libraries plus hundreds of related documents.
I am working with Bernardo Mota on the edition of Francisco de Melo's mathematical works: Francisco de Melo: Obras Matemáticas. Melo (ca. 1490-1536) was a fine mathematician, perhaps the best Portuguese mathematician in the generation before Pedro Nunes. Volume I [Latin text and translation] was published last year and got the most prestigious prize in Portugal for academic translation. We are now working on volume II [Commentary and studies], which we plan to publish in late 2016. See here for more information.
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 «Consejo Asesor» de Asclepio, Revista de Historia de la Medicina y de la Ciencia.
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.
29 June 2016. Biblioteca Geral da Universidade de Coimbra.
First conference of the series: Clavis Bibliothecarum: Novas Chaves de Interpretação. Biblioteca Geral da Universidade de Coimbra, sala São Pedro.
[For more information, see the Clavis bibliothecarum blog].
28-30 April 2016. Workshop: Artisanal Knowledge: material and Epistemic Cultures in the History of Science, Faculdade de Ciências, Lisboa. See Complete Program here.
3 March 2016. New book:
Luana Giurgevich e Henrique Leitão, Clavis Bibliothecarum: Catálogos e Inventários de Livrarias de Instituições Religiosas em Portugal até 1834 (Lisboa: Secretariado Nacional para os Bens Culturais da Igreja, 2016). Book presentation atBiblioteca Nacional de Portugal, Lisbon, 18h00.
More information about the book, Table of Contents, and online orders: here.
See also the Clavis bibliothecarum blog.
1 March 2016. Now in print: Joaquim Alves Gaspar and Henrique Leitão, "How Mercator Did it in 1569: From Tables of Rhumbs to a Cartographic Projection", Newsletter of the European Mathematical Society, nº99 (March 2016) 44-49.
14 December 2015.
Bernardo Mota and I were awarded the Prémio de Tradução Científica e Técnica em Língua Portuguesa 2015 (FCT-FLUL) for our book: Obras Matemáticas de Francisco de Melo. See also the news at the Biblioteca Nacional site.
Recent and next speaking engagements:
13 September. [with Joaquim Alves Gaspar], "Maps for the whole earth: Oceanic voyages and the birth of modern cartography", public lecture at the Adler Planetarium, Chicago.
24 September. "From the History of Cartography to the History of Science", paper at the 7th International Conference of the European Society for the History of Science, Prague (Czech Republic),
29 September. "A política de supressão das instituições religiosas portuguesas e a inventariação das suas livrarias (1759-1834)", talk with Luana Giurgevich, at the Seminar: «O Património Móvel das Ordens Religiosas face à Desamortização Oitocentista: Dinâmicas e Desafios», Universidade Nova de Lisboa.
6 October. "Clavis Bibliothecarum: Uma chave para o mundo das antigas bibliotecas eclesiásticas portuguesas", lecture at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica, Rio de Janeiro.
13 October. "Galileu na China, via Lisboa", lecture at Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa, 17h30.
15 October. "Preliminary remarks on the Compendium artis arismetice by Roland of Lisbon", no Congresso Internacional "Wisdom and Science in the (Iberian) Middle Ages", Mosteiro da Batalha.
17 October. [with Joaquim Alves Gaspar], "A primeira carta conhecida com linhas isogónicas: Luís Teixeira, c. 1585", no Colóquio Internacional «Do Mar do Sul ao Oceano Asiático: apropriação real e simbólica do Pacífico, sécs. XVI-XIX», Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Lisboa, e Escola Naval, Alfeite.
24 October. "O contributo das proto-instituições de investigação inovação", Aula Aberta no Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão, Lisboa.
3 November. "O livro científico no séc. XVI: Produção, leitores, coleccionadores", lecture at Departamento de Línguas e Culturas, Universidade de Aveiro.
24 November. "Bringing Galileo to China: the "Tianwenlüe" (1614/15) of Manuel Dias", paper at the conference “Nell’età di Galileo. Milano, l’Ambrosiana e la nuova scienza”, Accademia Ambrosiana, Milano.