A pile of scientific books in the La Trobe Reading Room

We’re excited to participate in National Science Week (15–23 August) again this year. Started in 1997, this annual festival celebrates Australian scientific achievements, and inspire young people to work, study and participate in scientific fields.

This week, our team are highlighting the vast range of scientific resources available at the Library, whether you’re visiting us here in Melbourne or researching online. From the latest research and cutting edge journals, to rare books and historic pamphlets, we’ve outlined a selection below.

Current Developments

Find the latest developments in science using our eresources, which give you access to full-text articles from thousands of science related journals. For example, try searching Proquest Science for information about the race to develop the Bionic Eye (Melbourne researchers are amongst the forerunners):

Screenshot of Proquest online resource

Don’t resort to Dr Google any more when you can use a selection of quality online health and medical resources:

Health and medicine eresources screenshot

Health and medicine eresources, State Library Victoria website

Anyone can access our eresources from within the Library, or Victorian residents can access from home with a State Library card. Not a member? Sign up online here.


See some iconic works on the history of science on display in our Mirror of the world exhibition:

Charles Darwin’s On the origin of species by natural selection, an 1861 (3rd ed.) of one of the founding publications on the theory of evolution.

Image of book in case: On the origin of species by natural selection, 1861, Charles Darwin

On the origin of species by natural selection, 1861, Charles Darwin

Sigmund Freud’s Gesammelte Schriften, the 1891 collected writings from the father of psychoanalysis.

Inside cover pages of 'Gesammelte Schrifte' by Sigmund Freud

Gesammelte Schriften von Sigm. Freud, 1891

The fabulous (and massive!) John Audubon’s Birds of America:

Image of Birds of America on display in the Dome Galleries

The birds of America: from drawings made in the United States and their territories / by John James Audubon

You can see all of the plates online here.

The Einstein Factor

2015 is the centenary of Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Arguably one of the most significant scientists of all time (time being relative of course!) and certainly one of the most famous, we have many of the hundreds of books by and about Einstein.

One of the highlights is the very journal in which the General Theory was first published (in 1916) the Annalen der Physik.

Annalen der Physik und Chemie, 1824-1899.

Annalen der Physik und Chemie, 1824-1899.

And Einstein’s own simplified (!) explanation of the Theory in Relativity: the special and the general theory (pictured below).

Relativity: the special and the general theory, 1921, Albert Einstein

Relativity: the special and the general theory, 1921, Albert Einstein

Nobel women!

There have been 16 female winners of Nobel Prizes in the field of science (chemistry; physiology or medicine; or physics).  The earliest (and winner of two) was the legendary Marie Curie. She won in 1903 for physics, and in 1911 for chemistry.  Australia has our very own female winner, for physiology or medicine; Elizabeth Blackburn was awarded the grand prize in 2009 for her work on telomeres.

The Library holds books and articles about, or by, the majority of these women including The Curies : a biography of the most controversial family in science (Denis Brian), Marie Curie : a biography (Marilyn Bailey Ogilvie), and Elizabeth Blackburn and the story of telomeres: deciphering the ends of DNA (Catherine Brady).

Images of three books sitting on a desk in the La Trobe Reading Room

Leeches, bloodletting and physicians!

Did you know we have a collection of more than 2000 Medicine pamphlets, dating from the 18th to the mid-20th century?  You can read the full digitised text online, including juicy topics such as Blood letting or Arachnoid cysts!

Medical pamphlet - On arachnoid cysts

On arachnoid cysts, 1871, Henry Sutherland

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