Harvard Gazette

Gingerich To Speak at Galileo Conference

April 10, 1997
sky from Rome On April 14, in Italy, professor of astronomy and of the history of science Owen Gingerich will present a keynote address at a conference sponsored by the American Academy of Rome celebrating the moment in 1611 when Galileo Galliel proudly presented the "telescope" to the intelligentsia of Rome, having first used it to observe the heavens a year and a half earlier. Gingerich will speak at the Accademei dei Lincel and then the group will move to the Casa Rustica - recently refurbished by the American Academy - where Galileo demonstrated his telescope. To provide additional historical cache to the occasion, the Academy asked Paine Professor of Astronomy and director of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Irwin Shapiro and his Center colleague Douglas Mink to produce a map of the stars as they appeared over Rome on the night of April 14, 1611.
For their efforts, Shapiro and Mink received a Jeroboam of champagne; Gingerich, however, got a trip to Rome. Shapiro (left) uses the prize bottle to position a replica Galilean telescope for observation of the Roman stars held by Mink (right), while Gingerich watches. The telescope, a full-sized, 20-power, working replica of Gailleo's first crude instrument, was produced as a class project by Samantha van Gerbig, a student in Gingerich's Core course, The Astronomical Perspective,

Photo on right by Jon Chase

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