Differentiating Astronomy and Astrology in Early Modern Europe

If today there is a sharp distinction between astronomy, the science of stars, and astrology, using horoscopes to make prediction, that has not always been the case. Before the seventeenth century, the words astronomy and astrology were often used interchangeably, and most astronomers (for example, Ptolemy and Kepler) were also astrologers. In this talk, we will examine how the distinction between astronomy and astrology had been puzzling scholars for centuries, and how a consensus was finally found in the early modern period. Behind this question of terminology lies the problem of distinguishing good and bad knowledge, and judging  the heritage of the past. It is a question about the bases and norms of scientific knowledge. It is a question about building boundaries in the intellectual world.

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A Nightwatchman’s Journey: The Road Not Taken

David H. Levy is one of the most successful comet discoverers in history. He has discovered 22 comets, nine of them using his own backyard telescopes. With Eugene and Carolyn Shoemaker at the Palomar Observatory in California he discovered Shoemaker-Levy 9, the comet that collided with Jupiter in 1994.

At this event, David Levy will discuss his new autobiography, which details his lifelong passion for the night sky.

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Edouard Roche

Édouard Albert Roche, a French mathematician and astronomer, was born Oct. 17, 1820.   He was born in Montpellier, studied at the University of Montpellier, taught there for 34 years, and died in Montpellier in 1883.   He worked in the field of celestial mechanics,...

Daniel Kirkwood

Daniel Kirkwood, an American astronomer, was born Sep. 27, 1814.   He joined the faculty at Indiana University in 1856 as professor of mathematics, and he spent most of the next thirty-five years there, until he moved on to Stanford University in 1891, when he was 77...

Vera Rubin

Vera Cooper Rubin, an American astronomer, was born July 23, 1928.  Working at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Rubin studied galaxies; to be specific, she measured galactic rotation rates.  Galaxies not only look like they rotate – they are rotating.  Rotating...