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Galileo, Shakespeare and the Kahn Institute will come together on Thursday, November 13, to celebrate notable anniversaries of their births with an evening of reflection, conjecture and whimsy.

  Click on image to view poster

"Liberal Arts in Depth: The Kahn Institute at 15" is a gala evening

celebration featuring two engaging panel discussions and a reception open to all in the Kahn Gallery.

One highlight of the evening not to be missed will be a visit by Galileo, Shakespeare, Galileo's daughter Suor Maria Celeste, and 17th-century astronomer Sir Thomas Digges. That is, Smith faculty will dress in full period costume and assume the roles of these historic luminaries.

Panel I: "The Possibility of the Liberal Arts: Three Reflections"
Panelists: Three Kahn Directors, Marjorie Senechal, mathematics; Rick Fantasia, sociology; and Rosetta Cohen, education and child study.
5:30-6:30 p.m., Kahn Institute

A reception will follow Panel I (with visits by Galileo, Shakespeare, et al.).

Panel II: "Running the Kahn Institute in the Early 17th Century: or, What Advice Would Galileo Give Shakespeare?"
Panelists: Galileo (Doug Patey, English language and literature); Shakespeare (Bill Oram, English language and literature); Suor Maria Celeste (Dava Sobel, Writer-in-Residence); and Sir Thomas Digges (Nat Fortune, Physics).

Panelists will engage in a (mostly fictional) discussion over concerns and challenges in running a Kahn project circa 1622.
7:15 p.m., Neilson Browsing Room

Free and open to the public.





This year marks the 450th anniversary of the birth of Galileo Galilei, born on February 15, 1564, one of history's preeminent scientists, who changed the way humans regard the cosmos and the world beyond earth. Also turning 450 this year is William Shakespeare, born on April 26, 1564.

"Galileo in Perspective" is a Kahn Gallery exhibit featuring displays of original books of Galileo and Shakespeare (courtesy of the Mortimer Rare Book Room), as well as images from Cosmigraphics: Picturing Space Through Time, a book by artist Michael Benson, who recently visited Smith as a lecturer in the Kahn Institute short-term project "Contested Cosmologies: Our Place in Space." Exhibit curated by Maris Schwartz '15.

"Galileo in Perspective" also includes two more upcoming events:

Thursday, November 13
The Liberal Arts in Depth: Kahn Institute at 15 (also described above)

The Kahn Liberal Arts Institute celebrates its 15th anniversary with two evening panels reflecting on the liberal arts and a reception open to the Smith community.

Thursday, November 20
“Forging the Moon: or, How to Spot a Fake Galileo”

Nick Wilding, associate professor of history at Georgia State University, will speak on his involvement in a very public identification of a forged copy of Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius, a volume written in 1610, of which few remain, based on his telescopic observations of the moon, Milky Way and many constellations not visible to the naked eye. In his determination that the copy in question was a forgery—an assertion that was eventually validated, leading to the arrest of the forger, in Italy—Wilding contradicted some of the world’s most prominent rare book authorities. He will speak at 7 p.m. in the Neilson Browsing Room.


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