The Vail Collection contains numerous works of fundamental scientific importance. The authors include Agricola, Gilbert, Guericke, Boyle, Volta, Davy, Faraday, Ohm, Joule … for many MIT alumni, these are household names. MIT itself has acknowledged their greatness by making each of them a physical part of the campus.
The collection is also rich in works by writers whose names aren’t as universally recognizable, but whose scientific contributions are estimable nonetheless. Cardano, Cavallo, Aldini, Lana Terzi, Ercker, and many others are represented in first or early editions and in important early translations. These individuals, too, performed work, or solved problems, or refined concepts that helped to create the world we live in today.