Fall 2009 Physics Colloquium & Kress Lecture

Kress Lecture & Colloquium

We are honored to host Dr. Owen Gingerich for our annual Kress Lecture series. This lecture will take place at a special time and place:

Wednesday, September 9 at 7:30 PM in Niels Room 234.


Kepler, Galileo, and the Birth of Modern Astronomy

Dr. Owen Gingerich, Harvard-Smithsonian Centerfor Astrophysics

Precisely four centuries ago Johannes Kepler published his Astronomia Nova, the pioneering book that proposed the radical idea that planets moved in elliptical orbits.  But the book was even more revolutionary
when it insisted on physical causes to explain motions in the heavens. His book was truly the "new astronomy."

But also exactly 400 years ago the astronomical use of the telescope began, with Galileo Galilei in the forefront.  His observations of the moon, Jupiter, Venus, and the sun helped credential the new heliocentric
cosmology. Although Galileo couldn't prove the motion of the earth, his writings made belief in the Copernican system intellectually respectable. With a little help from his friends, Galileo fanned the flames of the Astronomical Revolution.