Mark Peterson, Professor of Physics and Mathematics on the Alumnae Foundation, Mount Holyoke College
Thursday, February 13, 2014
11:30 a.m.-12:35 p.m.
Common Hour web page
Due to the severe weather forecast, this event has been canceled.
Galileo is known and remembered for his Copernicanism, for his trial, and for his early experiments in physics, but his most important contribution, Professor Peterson argues, is to philosophy. In his late 50s he began to bring together his knowledge of the arts and mathematics, combined with his experimental observations, into what was briefly called "the new philosophy," a world view that is essentially identical to modern science. Recent discoveries in the Galileo Archives suggest that a person almost lost to history, Galileo's student Niccolo Aggiunti, was a crucial participant in the creation of the new philosophy, and, most astonishingly, that his knowledge of medieval scholastic theology played a pivotal role in it.
Mark Peterson is a professor in both the physics and mathematics departments at Mount Holyoke. His work often explores the intersection of science and the humanities. He has written on the scientific speculations of Dante, programmed a pioneering computer program for introductory Chinese language courses, and, in 1997, published the cover article on the painter Piero della Francesca in The Mathematical Intelligencer. In the article, Peterson makes the case that Piero, who is well known as one of the great painters of the Italian Renaissance, was also by far the greatest mathematician of the fifteenth century. He is the author of the book Galileo’s Muse (Harvard University Press) which further explores the intersection of mathematics and art in the Renaissance.
Co-sponsored by The Department of Italian, The Center for Liberal Arts & Society, and the departments of Art and Art History, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Comparative Literary Studies
This event is open to the public.