Augsburg News

News Archives - 2000

Smithsonian's Senior Astronomer To Speak at Augsburg College Symposium

Sept. 08, 2000

One of the nation's leading astronomers will open the 2000-2001 Augsburg Convocation Series with speeches Sept. 25 and 26 in the Foss Center at Augsburg College.

Dr. Owen Gingerich, senior astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and longtime professor of astronomy and the history of science at Harvard University, will give public lectures at 7 p.m. on the 25th and 11 a.m. on the 26th as the 2000 Christensen Symposium speaker. His talks will be preceded by a special "Readings from Bertolt Brecht's Galileo", also in the Foss Center and led by Martha Johnson, chair of Augsburg's Theater Department, at 7 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 24. All three events are open to the public at no charge.

The Christensen Symposium is the first in a six-part, year-long Convocation Series on the theme "Science and Religion in Dialogue."

Gingerich, who is considered one of the world's leading authorities on German astronomer Johannes Kepler and Polish cosmologist Nicholas Copernicus, has had more than 500 articles and reviews published and has written on astronomy in several encyclopedias and journals.

His Convocation addresses are "Dare a Scientist Believe in Design?" on the 25th, and "What Would Galileo Say to the Creationists?" on the 26th.

The Harvard-Smithsonian astronomer has undertaken a personal survey of Copernicus' great book "De revolutionibus," and he has personally seen 580 16th-century copies in libraries scattered throughout Europe, North America, China and Japan. His annotated census is soon to be published as a 450-page monograph.

Gingerich, who has served as vice president of the American Philosophical Society (America's oldest scientific academy), has been honored with the Polish government's Order of Merit for his work on Copernicus. He also has had an asteroid named in his honor, and was awarded the 2000 Doggett Prize for his contributions to the history of astronomy. In 1984, he won the Harvard-Radcliffe Phi Beta Kappa prize for excellence in teaching.

The Christensen Symposium is the symposium is supported by an endowment established to honor the memory and work of Dr. Bernhard M. Christensen, who was president of Augsburg from 1938-62.