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Fermilab Lecture Series presents:
Galileo and the Investigation of Nature
Dr. Domenico Bertoloni Meli,
Indiana University
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 8 p.m.- Tickets $7

Presented in collaboration with the Cultural Association of Italians at Fermilab

This lecture offers novel perspectives on Galileo's contributions to the physico-mathematical disciplines, especially mechanics and astronomy, including his formulation of new mathematical sciences of the resistance of materials and of motion, and his path-breaking discoveries of the satellites of Jupiter and other celestial marvels. What was the status of knowledge in the mathematical disciplines when Galileo started his investigations? Which were the difficulties he encountered in his research? What are the lessons for today coming from his work? Dr. Meli believes that we have much to learn by looking at Galileo's struggle with the conceptual difficulties of the science of motion, with novel and highly dubious mathematical techniques, and with new and problematic instruments like the telescope. In an apparently paradoxical claim, Dr. Meli argues that we can learn more fruitful lessons from the past by paying close attention to Galileo's own intellectual problems and difficulties rather than by looking at history through modern eyes from the vantage point of our modern theories.

Domenico Bertoloni Meli is Professor and Chair at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Indiana University, Bloomington. Bertoloni Meli holds a degree in Physics from the University of Pavia (1983) and a Ph.D. in the History of Science from Cambridge University (1988). He is the recipient of several prestigious fellowships and awards, including a fellowship from Jesus College (Cambridge, UK), a senior fellowship from the Dibner Institute at MIT, and more recently a one-year membership at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Bertoloni Meli has published on a wide range of topics in the history of science from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, and especially on mechanics. His main publications include EQUIVALENCE AND PRIORITY: NEWTON VERSUS LIEBNIZ (Oxford University Press, 1993, paperback 1997) and recently THINKING WITH OBJECTS: THE TRANSFORMATION OF MECHANICS IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY (Johns Hopkins, 2006).


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