Friday, October 15, 2010

Galileo Program at LC

As you've probably noticed I'm way behind on updates here (lots of auction news to catch up on, plus a report on my Bermuda trip), but in the meantime, there's a really great program coming up on 5 November at the Library of Congress: a day-long symposium to mark the 400th anniversary of the publication of Galileo's Sidereus Nuncius (and the LC's request acquisition of a copy of the work).

Mark Dimunation writes: "The conference will approach the book from a variety of disciplinary standpoints and present new research on the book itself. Speakers include: Paul Needham and Eileen Reeves of Princeton University; David Marshall Miller of Duke University; John Hessler of the Library of Congress; Owen Gingerich of Harvard University; and Peter Machamer of the University of Pittsburgh. They will cover themes found in the work, and address the following questions:

What is it about the printing and construction of the book which "allows us to sketch a dynamic picture of how this revolutionary publication came into existence?" (Needham)

Why was there a "tendency to associate the earliest telescope with organ pipes and trumpets for both functional and aesthetic reasons" in Tuscan circles of the period? (Reeves)

How did the information in Galileo's Sidereus Nuncius" change the grounds upon which natural philosophical argument and debate was carried out?" (Miller)

How were Galileo's "early demonstrative methods" made manifest "not only in these texts, but also, and more clearly, in his illustrations and in his discourse about the moons of Jupiter?" (Hessler)

Why Galileo "remained a timid Copernican until his newly devised telescope revealed novelties in the heavens?" (Gingerich)

What was the "the reception and influence of Galileo's Sidereus Nuncius" and how did it contribute to his fate twenty-three years after its publication? (Machamer)

For speaker biographies and abstracts of the authors' presentations, please refer to the following link:

The conference is free and is open to the public, but an RSVP would be greatly appreciated. Please contact the Rare Book & Special Collections Division at (202) 707-6253."