Old highlights

See also the recent detailed Review of the book by Samuel Gessner here: Historia Mathematica, 45 (2018) 182-185.

September, 2020

RUTTER Project welcomes the new Interns (from Sept. 1st to Dec, 31): Miguel Cruz Fernandes, master student (History) at Universidade Nova and Tiago Rocha e Mello, master student (History) at Universidade de Lisboa.

July, 2020. RUTTER started its internship program.

RUTTER is pleased to welcome three interns: Débora Albuquerque, a PhD student at INESC (Lisbon); Pedro Louro, a BA student at Utrecht University (The Netherlands); and Rodolfo Cunha, who just finished secondary school and will start university next September. Interns at the RUTTER Project participate in all activities (regular meetings, seminars, etc) and they develop a small research activity under the supervision of a RUTTER team member.

March, 2020

Within the RUTTER Project, a Lisbon Arabic Science and Philosophy Reading Group has just started. It is coordinated by RUTTER researcher Juan Acevedo, with the collaboration of Inês Bénard da Costa.

January, 2020: A sample of my papers in 2018-2019:

Henrique Leitão, «Instruments and artisanal practices in long distance oceanic voyages», Centaurus, 60 (2018) 189-202; Antonio Sánchez and Henrique Leitão, «Artisanal culture in early modern Iberian and Atlantic Worlds», Centaurus, 60 (2018) 135-140; Joaquim Alves Gaspar and Henrique Leitão, «Early Modern Nautical Charts and Maps: Working through different cartographic paradigms», Journal of Early Modern History, 23 (2019) 1-28. Luís Campos Ribeiro and Henrique Leitão, «Astrology with new eyes: The telescope in astrological prognostication», Journal for the History of Astronomy, 49 (2018) 345-362; Joaquim Alves Gaspar and Henrique Leitão, «Luis Teixeira, c.1585: The earliest known chart with Isogonic Lines», Imago Mundi, 70 (2018) 221-228; Joaquim Alves Gaspar and Henrique Leitão,«What is a nautical chart, really? Uncovering the geometry of early modern nautical charts», Journal of Cultural Heritage, 29 (2018) 130-136;

December, 2019

Just before the year ends, two excellent news:

--- The Database of the Medea-Chart Project is now online. This is a superb research tool for anyone interested in medieval and early modern nautical cartography. (Medea-Chart is an ERC-funded Project led by Joaquim Gaspar: I am senior researcher at this Project. The Database was designed by Ricardo Vaz).

--- The Bibliographic Database of CIUHCT, Bibliografia de História da Ciência, Tecnologia e Medicina, is now online. It contains bibliographic references of all publications about Portugal, or authored by Portuguese scholars, on History of Science, Technology and Medicine, in the period 2000 to 2015. (The Database is a collective output of CIUCHT, but mostly done by João Machado.)

30 October, 2019

CIÊNCIAS Research Day. Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon - my institution - shows its best research.

July, 2019

This is the site of the new Gynecia Project [PI: Cristina Santos Pinheiro; co-PI: Bernardo Machado Mota]. I am Scientific Advisor.

May, 2019. New book:

Bernardo Jerosch Herold, Thomas Horst, Henrique Leitão (eds.),

A História Natural de Portugal de Leonard Thurneysser zum Thurn, ca. 1555-1556

(Lisboa: Academia das Ciências de Lisboa, 2019)

ISBN: 978-972-623-368-8, 129 pp. [free download here]

November, 2018

This is the site of the new Astra-Project [PI: Helena Avelar]. I am Scientific Advisor.

October 29, 2018

A Ciência da Sociedade Actual: Novos públicos e Novas Questões, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisboa.

A brief article I wrote for newspaper Publico: Pedro Nunes e as voltas da linha de rumo. This was the last article in the series on History of Science by the Medea-Chart team.

July 2018 - Melo's Obras Matemáticas is online (and free)!

It recently came to my attention that my book with Bernardo Mota: Francisco de Melo: Obras Matemáticas. [vol. I: Texto Latino e Tradução] (Lisboa: Centro de Estudos Clássicos e Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, 2014) is now fully downloadable (!) at the Repositório da Universidade de Lisboa.

June, 18, 2018

A small piece I wrote for newspaper Público on the arrival of news about Galileo to China: "Galileu chegou à China no texto de um português". This is part of a series on History of Science by the Medea-Chart team.

June 2018 - Conimbricenses.org

The excellent site Conimbricenses.org is now online (beta version). (Director: Mário Santiago de Carvalho; editor: Simone Guidi ).

I am at the Advisory Board.

March -June 2018.

I will be teaching an introductory course to Ptolemy's Almagest. It is a technical course, but only simple mathematics will be used. Students will learn the basic techniques of ancient mathematical astronomy.

March 22, 14h00 - Introduction. The theory of the Sun.

April, 26, 14h00 - The theories of the Moon.

June, 21, 14h00 - The theories of planets.

5 February 2018.

I now have an Academia.edu page where you can find my papers, books and other texts. Here:


November 2017.

A. J. Barros Veloso (coord.), A. J. Barros Veloso, Luiz Damas Mora, Henrique Leitão (eds.),

Médicos e Sociedade. Para uma História da Medicina em Portugal no século XX

(Lisboa: By the Book, 2017).

863 pp. ISBN: 978-989-8614-56-8

June 2017.

Francisco Malta Romeiras e Henrique Leitão (eds.), Obra Selecta do P. Luís Archer S.J., vol. IV: Bioética, 1998-2007 (Lisboa: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 2017) 599 pp. ISBN: 978-972-31-1566-6

March 2017.

There is a new site, in English, on the Clavis Bibliothecarum and ancient libraries (most ecclesiastical) in Portugal. Still a bit experimental, but it will improve in the next weeks.

December 2016.

Thomas Horst, Marília dos Santos Lopes, Henrique Leitão (eds).,

Renaissance Craftsmen and Humanistic Scholars. Circulation of Knowledge between Portugal and Germany

(Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2017). 245 pp. ISBN: 978-3-631-68113-8.

[For more information, see the Clavis bibliothecarum blog].

16 December 2016. Biblioteca Pública de Évora .

Second conference of the series: Clavis Bibliothecarum: Novas Chaves de Interpretação. Biblioteca Pública de Évora.

[For more information, see the Clavis bibliothecarum blog].

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.

28-30 April 2016. Workshop: Artisanal Knowledge: material and Epistemic Cultures in the History of Science, Faculdade de Ciências, Lisboa. See Complete Program here.

22 March 2016.

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.

19 October 2015. Colloquium: Relembrando Abraão Zacuto (1452-1515) nos 500 anos da sua morte. Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa, sala 5.2.

8 October 2015.

Francisco Malta Romeiras e Henrique Leitão (eds.), Obra Selecta do P. Luís Archer S.J., vol. I: História e Filosofia da Ciência (Lisbon: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 2015) 474 pp. ISBN: 978-972-31-1566-6

Book presented during the Colloquium: "Da Genética à Bioética: A vida e obra do P. Luís Archer (1926-2011)", Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisboa.

11 September 2015: The exhibition "360º - Science Discovered" (Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 2013) won one more prize: Prémio Pádua Ramos de design de interiores (Secretaria de Estado da Cultura / Ministério da Economia) was attributed to Mariano Piçarra, who led the team in charge of the exhibition's design.

April 2015. Now in print: Samuel Gessner und Henrique Leitão, «Una tribus ratio : Ikonographie der Wissensvermittlung und Selbstdarstellung der Jesuiten im Thesensaal des Kollegs in Lissabon», Mathematische Semesterberichte, 62 (2015) 1-6.

12 March 2015:

Bernardo Mota e Henrique Leitão, Francisco de Melo: Obras Matemáticas. [vol. I: Texto Latino e Tradução] (Lisboa: Centro de Estudos Clássicos e Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, 2014) 506 pp [ISBN: 978-972-9376-31-3].

Book presentation at Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, March 12, 18h30.

22 December 2014. My research Unit (CIUHCT), led by Ana Simões, was one of the 11 research units in Portugal that got the rate of "Exceptional" (25/25) in the international evaluation process commissioned by the Portuguese agency FCT and carried out by the European Science Foundation (ESF). I am absolutely delighted. [FCT site with national results].

March 2015: My new paper with Francisco Romeiras is now online (and free access): Henrique Leitão and Francisco Malta Romeiras, "The Role of Science in the History of Portuguese Anti-Jesuitism", Journal of Jesuit Studies, 2 (2015) 77-99.

12 December 2014. The exhibition "360º - Science Discovered" that took place at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in 2013 received two prizes of the "Associação Portuguesa de Museologia" (APOM): the prize "Best Exhibition", and the prize "Best museography". I was the Curator of the exhibition, but here are some of the names of the superb team I was privileged to work with and that really deserve it: Francisca Moura, Mariano Piçarra, Teresa Carvalho, Luís Moreira, Joana Nascimento, and many others.

12 December 2014. I was awarded the Prémio Pessoa 2014. It is an immense honor and an even greater responsibility. (Here a video clip of the public announcement).

20-21 November 2014.

Workshop: Renaissance Craftsmen and Humanistic Scholars: European Circulation of Knowledge between Portugal and Germany, Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, Lisbon.

11 November 2014. I was on national TV (RTP2) at the well known show of Paula Moura Pinheiro, "Visita Guiada", talking about the "Class on the Sphere" (Aula da Esfera) and Pedro Nunes.

5 November 2014. Jennifer Frazer at Scientific American's blog The Artful Amoeba cites my paper with Samuel Gessner on the Euclidean tiles. The post is great: accurate, detailed, and very well written.

September 2014. My first paper with Joaquim Gaspar has reached the list of "Most Read Articles" of Imago Mundi -- Not bad for a paper published less than a year ago...

June 2014. My (second) paper with Joaquim Gaspar is now online. This is the second of two papers that finally explain how Mercator did it. See here: Henrique Leitão and Joaquim Alves Gaspar, "Globes, rhumb tables and the pre-history of the Mercator projection", Imago Mundi, 66 (2014) 180-195.

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 to April 2014.

Exhibition at the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal (BNP): Luís Serrão Pimentel e a Ciência em Portugal no século XVII. Curators: Miguel Soromenho and I.

16 September 2014. Conference by Alan C. Bowen (Institute for Research in Classical Philosophy and Science, Princeton, NJ): "Vision and Optics in Problemata 15", Faculdade de Ciências, room 4.2.07, 11h00.

18-19 November 2013. Workshop at the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal (Lisbon) on: Luís Serrão Pimentel e a Ciência em Portugal no século XVII.

November 2013. My first paper with Joaquim Gaspar ("Squaring the Circle: How Mercator constructed his Projection in 1569", Imago Mundi, 66 (2014) 1-24) is online. A second one is scheduled to appear in June.

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). A bibliography of recent works about Pedro Nunes with a few introductory remarks on what was done in the past decade.

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 13, 2013. Conference by Florike Egmond (U. Leiden), Natural History as a Meeting Point: Portuguese-Dutch Global Encounters and the Study of Nature, 1500-1650. Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, 18h00.

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.

January, 30, 2013. Conference by Juan Pimentel (Instituto de Historia, CSIC, Madrid): Rodear el mundo. Enciclopedismo y circunnavegación (s. XVI-XVII). Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisboa, 18h00.

December 2012. Bruno Almeida's dissertation won the "Prémio Cultura -- Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa, 2012". Bruno worked for his PhD under my supervision.

September 2012. Ana Sampaio won the XX Prémio de Tradução Científica e Técnica da FCT/União Latina (2012) for her translation of Thomas Kuhn, O Percurso desde a Estrutura, in the series on History and Philosophy of Science published by Porto Editora of which Ana Simões and I are editors.

May 2012. The original copy of Francisco de Melo's mathematical works was recently located in Germany, at the Stralsund Municipal Archives. See here, here, here and here. This is exceptional good news for all interested in the history of sixteenth century mathematics in Portugal.

March 2012.

História da Cartografia Ibérica: Velhas Cartas, Novos Caminhos. 29-30 March, Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, Lisboa.

December 2011

Vol. V of Pedro Nunes' Works (Nunes' commentary on Peurbach's Theoricae novae planetarum).I wrote a short piece for the Boletim da Sociedade Portuguesa de Matemática on this book. See here.

August 2011.

Most recent book (#14) of the collection «Textos de História e Filosofia da Ciência»: Robert E. Kohler, Os Senhores da Mosca. A genética da Drosophila e a Vida Experimental (Porto Editora, 2011).

4 June 2011.

My paper with Walter Alvarez («The Portuguese and Spanish voyages of discovery and the early history of geology», is cover article on the July issue (v. 123) of the Geological Society of America Bulletin.July 2011.

Book (#13) of the collection «Textos de História e Filosofia da Ciência»: Thomas S. Kuhn, O Percurso desde A Estrutura (Porto Editora, 2011).April 2011.

My paper «Pedro Nunes e o Libro de Algebra», Quaderns d’Història de l’Enginyeria, 11 (2010) 9-19 is now available online. See the whole issue of Quaderns for more articles on renaissance algebra and Nunes.

December 2010.

Third printing of my translation of Galileo's Sidereus Nuncius, and a nice review by Emma Sallent del Colombo.

19 April 2011.

Exhibition «Traços de Ciência» (a project by Ana Simões and me) opened.

26-27 May 2011

Segundas Jornadas sobre Ciência na «Aula da Esfera» (see alsohere). Lisboa, Biblioteca Nacional.

25-26 March 2011

Workshop: Estudo da Cartografia Portuguesa Antiga: diagnóstico e perspectivas futuras. Lisboa, Biblioteca Nacional.

19 March 2011

I was intervewed by radio TSF about the writing of scientific biographies.

20-21 January 2011

Workshop: Libraries and the scientific book (15th-18th cent.) Objects, spaces, and ideas. Lisboa, Biblioteca Nacional.

March 2010

Discovery News had a piece on a paper Walter Alvarez and I published in the latest issue of Geology(March 2010; v. 38; p. 231-234). Other publications and blogs picked up this story (e.g, see here, here, here, and here). Ciência Hoje also ran a piece about this.