AAR to Hold Inaugural Galileo Night Lecture on April 15

A projected image of Galileo on the face of an old building, dusk
Enzo Aronica’s video Galileo’s Eyes was projected on the Academy’s Casa Rustica in 2011 as part of a program celebrating the four hundredth anniversary of Galileo’s demonstration of the telescope

On April 14, 1611, at the site of the current Casa Rustica in the Academy’s Bass Garden, Galileo Galilei demonstrated to a learned audience his improved perspicillum, named on that occasion a “telescope.” In commemoration of this pivotal event in the history of science, AAR will hold a Galileo Night Lecture each April—bringing leading scientists to AAR to speak on a topic of crucial interest to scientists, humanists, and artists.

The inaugural lecture, taking place on Monday, April 15, at six o’clock in the evening, presents David Spergel, president of the Simons Foundation and the Charles Young Professor of Astronomy Emeritus at Princeton University. Spergel—an acclaimed astrophysicist and MacArthur Fellow who has authored more than three hundred papers—will deliver a lecture entitled “Physics as Aesthetics, Cosmology as a Historical Science: From Galileo to the Big Bang.” 

Tracing our understanding of the evolution of the universe from the Big Bang to galaxies, with a focus on observations of the cosmic microwave background (the leftover heat from the Big Bang), Spergel will emphasize the role that aesthetics plays in shaping physics, and how cosmologists are historians who try to reconstruct the story of the universe’s evolution from our incomplete observations of its past.

Sauro Succi, a principal investigator at the Italian Institute of Technology and the former research director of the Istituto per le Applicazioni del Calcolo Mauro Picone, will respond. 

AAR's Galileo Night Lectures will remind us of the fundamental connections between the arts, the humanities, and the sciences—fields of study that are often seen as diametrically opposed but which, in fact, overlap and inform one another.

We hope you’ll join us—in person or virtually—on April 15!

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