About the Blog

Welcome!  This blog started in January 2008 as a history of science blog that related to my bookstore, but within the first two months the content spilled over into all sorts of unexpected areas, and I’ve happily not tried to steer a clear course since then.  The categories bar makes sense of the mass of the posts, I think.  At this point there are some 1978 posts (plus another 450 “quick posts”) that run about 1.3 million words and illustrated with 6,700 images.  This blog has been referenced or has been re-posted in The New York Times, The Times, Scientific American,  Le Point, Slate France, Le Monde, Le Figarro, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Boing-Boing, Jezebel, Wired, Bloomberg.com.,  Discovery News, The Guardian,  the Huffington Post and many other places, and has been viewed about 2.4 million times.

About the Store

JF Ptak Science Books was founded in 1981 and operated an open shop in Georgetown, Washington D.C. from 1985-2002. From 2002-2009 we operated a fine antique map and print store in the heart of the mountain city of Asheville, North Carolina; from 2009 to now all of our business has been conducted online. We specialize in unusual, rare and unique material in the sciences and the history of science, with strong concentrations in quantum theory, astrophysics, atomic physics, computer science and thermodynamics. Also of principle interest are the developing years of new fields of science and technology–the telephone to 1890, computer science to 1955, telegraphy to 1870, automobiles to 1900, powered heavier-than-air flight to 1920, space flight to 1962, and so on.

J.F. Ptak Science Books has exhibited at professional annual meetings  including:

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Astronomical Society
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Mathematical Society
  • American Physical Society
  • Astronomical Society of the Pacific
  • Maryland Microscopy Society
  • Washington Antiquarian Bookfair

We have also conducted appraisals of books and related materials for:

  • U.S. Library of Congress
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Georgetown University
  • George Washington University
  • The Cleveland Medical Museum
  • American Otolyrngological Society
  • District of Columbia Government

and others.

All errors on this site are strictly of my own making and responsibility.