Bay Area Physics and Astronomy Society Message Board › New Meetup: Copernicus, Gallileo, and Kepler

New Meetup: Copernicus, Gallileo, and Kepler

A former member
Announcing a new Meetup for Bay Area Physics and Astronomy Society!

What: Copernicus, Gallileo, and Kepler

When: October 2, 2009 8:00 PM

Where:
Herbst Theater
401 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94102

Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler:
Redefining Our Place in the Universe
October 2 and 3, 2009
Herbst Theatre, San Francisco




Commemorating the 400th anniversary of modern astronomy and Galileo’s first use of the telescope in 1609.

For centuries, religious belief and philosophical reasoning had placed man and his earthly home at the center of the universe. Changing that deep-seated conviction took courage, persistence, and a dedication to new methods of scientific observation and measurement on the part of three provincial scholars from Toruń in Poland, Pisa in Italy, and Weil der Stadt in Germany. It also took more than 150 years of controversy and confrontation spanning most of the 16th and 17th centuries, from Copernicus’ life work first published as De revolutionibus orbium coelestium in 1543 to Newton’s Principia in 1687. Those years of controversy succeeded beyond belief, leading to today's astronomical shifts in understanding an expanding universe that may contain millions of life-supporting planets in our galaxy alone.

Moderator: Alexander Zwissler
Executive Director, Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland


Schedule of Events


Friday, October 2, 2009
8:00 pm until 10:15 pm

Introduction: 25th Anniversary Season (Patricia Lundberg) and Moderator Alexander Zwissler’s Overview of the Program

Keynote Address: The Copernican Revolution.
Roger Hahn (History, UC Berkeley).

Nothing was so bizarre and more contradictory to evidence in 16th century Christian Europe than removing man and the earth from its central position in the cosmos. Yet this was the revolution in thought that Copernicus initiated. How it happened and why it took another century and a half to be fully absorbed in Newton’s era is the amazing story to be told. The twists and turns will take us from Copernicus’ Poland to an island observatory in the Danish Sound where Tycho Brahe compiled data Kepler tested out to establish the elliptical orbits of planets; to Northern Italy where Galileo created a furor with Catholic authorities; and to Cambridge University where the reclusive Newton set forth the forces that held the new solar system together.

The Music of the Spheres.
Kip Cranna (San Francisco Opera) discusses why star-gazers from Pythagoras to Kepler believed that mathematical laws producing musical harmony on earth also determine the movements of heavenly bodies, creating a universe ordered by a kind of celestial harmony.

The Star Dances.
Kathryn Roszak's Danse Lumiere. Introduced by Bethany Cobb (UC Berkeley).
An original choreography inspired by Kepler’s "Music of the Spheres." The dances take inspiration from the latest star/planet mapping by astronomers at UC Berkeley. Music includes Holst's "The Planets" for two pianos.


Saturday, October 3, 2009
10:00 am until noon & 1:30 until 4:00 pm

Recap of Friday and Introduction of Saturday Program (Patricia Lundberg)

Galileo and the Telescope: The Instrument That Changed Astronomy.
Paula Findlen (History, Stanford University).
In 1609, Galileo Galilei, devised a telescope based on reports of a spyglass that could magnify things at a distance. He turned it on the heavens and saw things no one had ever seen before. Galileo's report of these discoveries, the Sidereal Messenger (1610), became a landmark publication in the history of astronomy. How did Galileo and his instrument change astronomy?

Galileo Meets Darwin: The Search for Life in the Universe.
Geoff Marcy (Astronomy, UC Berkeley).
This year, astronomers launched the first searches for Earth-like worlds around other stars, using bizarre, extreme telescopes for the task. For the first time, these telescopes have fundamentally superseded Galileo's historic little scope. A wild race for signs of inhabited worlds and extraterrestrial life is about to begin.


Performance: Copernicus Comments on Modern Astronomical Ideas.
George Hammond (SF Attorney and Author) impersonates Copernicus, wryly commenting on the "hot ideas" of 21st Century cosmology, dismissing those that look like "yet another epicycle dead end" and passionately predicting those that will lead to the next Copernican Revolution.

Dark Energy and the Runaway Universe.
Alex Filippenko (Astronomy, UC Berkeley). Observations of very distant exploding stars (supernovae) show that the expansion of the Universe is now speeding up, rather than slowing down as would be expected due to gravity. Other, completely independent data strongly support this amazing conclusion. Over the largest distances, our Universe seems to be dominated by a repulsive "dark energy." The physical nature of dark energy is often considered to be the most important unsolved problem in physics.

Panel Discussion with all presenters and written questions from the audience

Tickets

Friday & Saturday Combo $100
Friday & Saturday Combo (balcony) $ 55
Friday Only $ 45
Friday Only (balcony) $ 30
Friday Student/Teacher (balcony) $ 20
Saturday Only $ 65
Saturday Only (balcony) $ 40
Saturday Student/Teacher (balcony) $ 20
Handling Fee (Friday/Saturday) $ 5/ticket
Handling Fee (Single Day) $ 2.50/ticket




Related Events


Dine with Presenters - Contribute $250 or more to Humanities West and join us for a group dinner with presenters before the program on Friday, October 2. Payment of $75 for each dinner is due in advance. Donors may also join us in a private group lunch with presenters at a nearby restaurant on Saturday, October 3 for $45 each.

Reservations are essential and space is limited. Email us or call 415 391 9700.

Humanities West Book Discussion

Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer's Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother by James A. Connor

Monday, September 21, 2009
5:30 p.m
Commonwealth Club of San Francisco
595 Market Street, San Francisco

Our first discussion will provide valuable background to those who will attend Humanities West's program, Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler: Redefining Our Place in the Universe to be held at the Herbst Theater on October 2nd and 3rd.

There will be no charge for these Humanities Book Discussions at the Commonwealth Club.


Creating Star Dances: Choreography and Astronomy Collaboration for the International Year of Astronomy

Lecture-Discussion with Bethany Cobb (UC Berkeley) and Kathryn Roszak (Danse Lumiere)

Thursday, September 24, 2009
5:30pm Reception, 6pm Lecture
Mechanics’ Institute
57 Post Street, San Francisco

FREE to Members of Mechanics’ Institute and Friends of Humanities West
$12 general public
Reservations: 415-393-0100 or email the Mechanics' Institute.

Join astronomer Bethany Cobb and choreographer Kathryn Roszak for a presentation about their ongoing collaboration on dances based on star maps and colliding galaxies. These dances will be performed as part of Humanities West's program, Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler: Redefining Our Place in the Universe at the Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, on October 2, 2009, and at the Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley, on December 12.

A Fireside Chat with George Hammond previewing Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler

Tuesday, September 29, 2009
7:00 pm
Orinda Library 26 Orinda Way, Orinda
Free to the general public

Join author/performer George Hammond for a Fireside Chat previewing the upcoming Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler: Redefining Our Place in the Universe, Humanities West’s two-day program of lectures, discussions, music and dance presentations celebrating the International Year of Astronomy in honor of the 400th anniversary of modern astronomy and Galileo’s first use of the telescope in 1609.


In Galileo's Footsteps: Edwin Hubble and the Reshaping of Our Universe

Lecture-Discussion with Astronomer Bethany Cobb (UC Berkeley)

Thursday, October 1, 2009
5:30pm Reception, 6pm Lecture
The Gold Room, Commonwealth Club of San Francisco
595 Market Street, San Francisco

$15 general public; $8 Commonwealth Club members
For more information: commonwealthclub.org
For reservations click here.

Join astronomer Bethany Cobb (UC Berkeley) for a lecture and discussion organized by the Humanities Member-Led Forum at the Commonwealth Club on the astronomical work of Edwin Hubble. 300 years after Galileo's great discoveries, the true size and nature of the universe remained elusive. Using a 100-inch telescope at the Mount Wilson Observatory in California, Hubble not only resolved the "Great Debate" over the scale of the universe but also provided radical evidence that the universe is expanding.


Astronomy Salon at the Commonwealth Club

Continuing the conversation with a salon discussion.

Thursday, October 8, 2009
5:30pm Reception, 6pm Lecture
The Gold Room, Commonwealth Club of San Francisco
595 Market Street, San Francisco

$15 general public; $8 Commonwealth Club members
For more information: commonwealthclub.org

Please join us to continue the discussion regarding matters related to the upcoming Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler: Redefining Our Place in the Universe, Humanities West’s two-day program of lectures, discussions, music and dance presentations celebrating the International Year of Astronomy in honor of the 400th anniversary of modern astronomy and Galileo’s first use of the telescope in 1609.

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