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Lecture / Discussion  |  The Milestones of Science Discussion & Exhibition

Thursday, February 7, 2019, 6:30 pm

Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Auditorium  

In order to illustrate that Science (astronomy) is a part of how we know the world and not something foreign, Peter Reczek will moderate a panel of scientists, artists, historian and theologians to examine the work of Astronomer and Mathematician Nicolas Copernicus.  The event will focuses on observing other ways of knowing the world through various disciplines demonstrating its equal validity with science. Not better, just different.  

The relevance of science can hardly be overstated; it dominates the world in which we live. Discoveries made by stargazers Claudius Ptolemy (AD c100-170), Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543) and Johannes Kepler (1571 – 1630) helped us to understand the vast universe in which we live.

In collaboration with the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library - Central Library, The Center is honored to display three one-of-a-kind first edition books by these revolutionary astronomers as part of the Milestones of Science, a collection of rare books by world famous early scientists that form a veritable history of science.

Acquired in the late 1930s by the Buffalo Museum of Science, they are now housed by the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library - Central Library. The Almagest (Ptolemy, 2nd Century AD), De revolutionibus (Copernicus, 1543) and Harmonices Mundi (Kepler 1619) are on view at the Burchfield Penney through February 10.

The exhibition will mark three milestones--the 546th birthday of Polish-born Renaissance scientist, Nicolaus Copernicus (b. February 19, 1473), 400th anniversary of the release of Johannes Kepler’s Harmonices Mundi (1619) and the first time the B&ECPL has shown all three works together.

Panel Discussion
Science and art naturally overlap. Both use their separate traditions to investigate unique aspects of the world. Both involve ideas, theories, and hypotheses, tested in places where mind and hand come together—the laboratory, studio and on stage. Dr. Peter Reczek will moderate a panel of four scholars that will explore the impact these great books had on all aspects of our growing civilization. The publication of De Revolutionibus created a scientific revolution that continues to this day. Copernicus’ wide-ranging influence was not solely scientific, but inspired profound changes in culture, philosophy and religion:

Rance Solomon, Astronomer, Department of Physics,
University at Buffalo
Solomon will discuss the scientific aspects of Copernicus’ great discovery, its significance to scientists that followed and their view of the structure of the universe. Solomon is currently studying astrophysics at UB under the direction of Professor Dejan Stojkovic. His research emphasis involves the use of mathematical modeling to determine the role that dark matter plays in the structure of the universe. Previously, Rance studied experimental biophysics at Middle Tennessee State University where he won the Berhanu Welde Michael Memorial Award for his work on sickle cell anemia. When not looking at the stars, Rance is an accomplished cartoonist.

Dr. Martin F. Ederer, Historian, Department of History and Social Science Education, SUNY Buffalo State

What was life like in the Europe (and the Poland) of Copernicus? How may have these conditions influenced Copernicus’ work and its reception? Ederer will share his insights on an era that ushered in many complicated religious, intellectual and cultural changes. A specialist in Renaissance and Reformation history, Ederer has published books and articles on topics ranging from Renaissance humanism to church history to Buffalo/WNY history.

Dr. Julie Kirsch, Philosopher / Theologian,
Department of Philosophy, D’Youville College
Will talk about the philosophical and religious consequences of the sun-centered view of the universe and how a simple change in perspective had profound effects on the church and science. Dr. Kirsch teaches a broad range of courses at D’Youville, including Bioethics, Mysteries of the Mind, Philosophy of Art, History of Modern Philosophy, and Knowledge and Reality. She also organizes local events for B-WIP (Buffalo Women in Philosophy), a group that she co-founded with Dr. Kimberly Blessing from SUNY Buffalo State. In addition to her work in philosophy, Julie is an artist and explores philosophical themes, particularly those surrounding the mind and cognition, in her drawings and paintings.

Amy Pickard, Rare Book Curator and Librarian,
Buffalo and Erie County Public Library
Will discuss how De Revolutionibus and the Milestones of Science collection came to be in Buffalo and some of the challenges of collecting and maintaining one of the premier rare book collections in the world. Amy is a Special Collections Librarian and the Rare Book Curator for the Grosvenor Rare Book Collection at the Central Library of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library System. Having earned her Master of Library Science (MLS) at the University at Buffalo in 1999, she began her career at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library in the Humanities and Social Sciences Department that same year and transferred to Special Collections in 2003.

Dr. Peter R. Reczek, moderator
Peter Reczek is a biotechnology entrepreneur and consultant. He received his Ph.D. in Biophysics from the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center where he worked as a faculty member in the Biophysics Department as well as serving as the founding director of the Technology Transfer Office and the Office for Research Subjects Protection.

He has written for such publications as Science Magazine and Buffalo Spree and has taught at UB, Roswell Park, Harvard Medical School, and Dartmouth College. He also taught health policy at D’Youville College in Buffalo and currently serves as an instructor in scientific writing and Biology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

Peter served as the former Executive Director of the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology and was Chief Science and Technology advisor to New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine.

This event is free with gallery admission.

Admission is $2 off when you show your library card from Buffalo and Erie Co. Public Library!