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Words that Changed the World

By University of Cambridge

This app is only available on the App Store for iOS devices.


Words that Changed the World: 600 years of Cambridge University Library

Leaf through the pages of texts that changed the world; read books that were held by Newton and Darwin; study the Bible that sparked the printing revolution in the West.

Words that Changed the World brings together six revolutionary books from the collections of Cambridge University Library and offers readers the opportunity to leaf through the pages as if they were holding the books themselves. See the minds of great thinkers develop the theories and concepts which form the foundation of the modern world.

These unique copies of world-changing books were previously only accessible to visitors to Cambridge University Library: we are now freeing them to be studied across the world as we celebrate the 600th anniversary of our foundation. Images showing these books from cover to cover give the experience of handing these priceless works, while experts discuss specific points of interest to enable the reader to understand the texts.

As the quantity of content means that this is a large app, we recommend downloading at a time when your wifi connection is strong. It can take up to five minutes to download depending on speed of connection. Please ensure that you have sufficient memory, and if there is a problem with downloading we recommend restarting your iPad then trying again.

The texts included are:

• Sir Isaac Newton’s own copy of the first edition of the most influential book in the history of science, the Principia Mathematica (1687) heavily annotated with his own corrections and amendments

• Extracts from the immense Gutenberg Bible, the book which began the printing revolution in in Western Europe

• Charles Darwin’s family copy of the first edition of On the Origin of Species, the text which first proposed the theory of biological evolution

• Andreas Vesalius’s 1543 Epitome, a stunningly illustrated anatomical textbook which changed for ever the way the human body was studied

• William Tyndale’s translation of the Bible into English, an undertaking which led to his execution for heresy while enabling the English people to read the Bible in their own language for the first time

• William Morris’s own heavily annotated proofs of the beautiful Kelmscott Press edition of Beowulf

Features include:

• Cover-to-cover digitisations of the books, and extracts from the Gutenberg Bible

• Zoomable images to get up close to the illustrations and annotations

• Video introductions and analysis presented by Cambridge University experts to explain the importance of these texts and their reception

• Additional content to place the masterworks in their historical and intellectual contexts

• Videos are linked to specific content within the scanned books, so readers can see immediately the words that changed the world

Cambridge University Library’s 600th Anniversary has been generously supported by the Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“For six centuries, the collections of Cambridge University Library have challenged and changed the world around us. Across science, literature and the arts, the millions of books, manuscripts and digital archives we hold have altered the very fabric of our understanding. Our hope is that 'Words that changed the world' will encourage people of all ages to dig deeper into the works of great thinkers and provoke new ideas.” Anne Jarvis, University Librarian

Membership of Cambridge University Library is available to anyone over 18 who has an interest in ideas and understanding the world around them
Learn more about the Library:
See more great works in full on Cambridge Digital Library:
Follow us on twitter: @theUL

Please leave a review and rating of the interactive book, and share it with others who may wish to have their own copy of these wonderful books.

iPad Screenshots

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Customer Reviews


I have the latest iOS on iPad Pro and sound all the way up yet no sound comes out of those videos. Wondering what I'm doing wrong?


Thanks to Cambridge for providing such an awe-inspiring resource.

Words that Changed the World
View in iTunes
  • Free
  • Category: Books
  • Released:
  • Version: 1.0
  • Size: 938 MB
  • Language: English
  • Seller:

Compatibility: Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPad.

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