Dava Sobel to Present Talk and Play on Copernicus's Contributions to Science

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., November 15, 2013—Dava Sobel, author and writer in residence at Smith College, will present a talk on her book A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos. The talk will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 8 p.m. in the auditorium of the Bronfman Science Center. Books will be on hand for signing. Additionally, a reading of Sobel’s play “And the Sun Stood Still” will be presented as part of the Theatre Department’s StudioSeries on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 9 p.m. and Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 4 p.m. in the Directing Studio at the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance. Seating is limited and on a first-come basis. All events are free and open to the public.

Although Copernicus had the courage to imagine a universe in which the Earth rotated and revolved around the Sun, given that a model with the Earth at the universe’s center was widely accepted at that time, it took him decades to share his idea for a Sun-centered system of the planets. His most famous work, On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres, was published in 1543, and though it was read by generations of astronomers, it was also listed for 200 years on the Index of Prohibited Books.

Science writer Dava Sobel is also the author of the books Longitude, Galileo’s Daughter, and The Planets. She is a former New York Times science writer and contributor to many other publications including Discover, Life, and The New Yorker. She has won numerous literary and science awards including the 2001 Individual Public Service Award from the National Science Board, the Harrison Medal from the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, and the Klumpke-Roberts Award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Sobel is currently the Joan Leiman Jacobson Visiting Nonfiction Writer at Smith College. She has traveled with Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy Jay Pasachoff to view a solar eclipse.

Sobel received her B.A. from State University of New York at Binghamton in 1969. She holds honorary degrees from the University of Bath, England, and Middlebury College.

The event is sponsored by the Astronomy, Physics, History of Science, and History Departments; the Chapin Library; and the Lecture Committee.

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