Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A congress to analyze the Galileo Affair

This year marks 400th anniversary of the first use of telescope for astronomical purposes. Thus, 2009 is being celebrated as the International Year of Astronomy. Of course, Galileo features prominently in these celebrations. As part of the activities, there is an interesting conference - or more accurately, a congress - on Galileo starting from today in Florence, Italy: The Galileo Affair: A Historical, Philosophical, & Theological Re-examination (May 26-30). What is interesting here is that it is not simply an academic gathering (it looks to be a hybrid - a mixture of academic and religious figures). Instead, it also brings together the very institutions that were directly involved in the Galileo Affair. Will this mixture help or hinder the discussion? I don't know. But it sounds fascinating.
The Niels Stensen Foundation, a Jesuit-run cultural center in Florence, Italy, has organized a world congress for spring 2009, inviting world experts to make a historical, philosophical and theological re-examination of the Galileo case in the light of the most recent scientific and historical research. The congress will take place in the most prestigious institutions and facilities in Florence.

For the first time after 400 years, members of the Vatican Observatory, the Pontifical Council for Culture, The Sciences Academy and many other Institutions, that were historically involved in the Galileo affair, are among the experts invited to the congress with a view to showing how "recent scientific and historical research" might alleviate the "tension and conflict" still clouding the relationship between the church and science.
You can check out the details here, and download the program poster here (pdf). Apart from George Coyne, I'm not familiar with any of the speakers.

As a side note, also check this earlier post: A new angle on the whole Galileo Affair.

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