LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Oct. 21, 2009) – Author Dava Sobel will present the 2009 Guarnaschelli Lecture on Thursday, Oct. 29, 7:30 p.m. in Frazier Hall at Bellarmine University. The lecture is free and open to the public. In her book "Galileo's Daughter," Sobel explores the life of the Italian scientist Galileo Galilei through letters he exchanged with his eldest daughter, the cloistered nun Suor Maria Celeste.
Bellarmine University invited Sobel to speak in recognition of the International Year of Astronomy and the relationship between Galileo and the university namesake St. Robert Bellarmine, both men of faith and reason. Seventeen years before the Vatican sentenced Galileo to house arrest for teaching the Copernican Theory, Bellarmine had warned him against defending the theory on the orders of Pope Paul V. By the time the church sentenced Galileo, Bellarmine had been dead for several years.
Sobel, a former New York Times science reporter, also is author of "Longitude" and "The Planets" and has co-authored five books, including "Is Anyone Out There?" with astronomer Frank Drake.
Sobel received the 2001 Individual Public Service Award from the National Science Board "for fostering awareness of science and technology among broad segments of the general public." Also in 2001, the Boston Museum of Science gave her its prestigious Bradford Washburn Award for her "outstanding contribution toward public understanding of science, appreciation of its fascination, and the vital role it plays in all our lives."
The Guarnaschelli Lecture Series brings leading arts and humanities speakers to the Louisville community. It is made possible by a grant from Dr. John and Marty Guarnaschelli of Louisville. Past lecturers include: Isabel Allende, U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, James Dickey, William L. Shirer, Gwendolyn Brooks, Harold Wilson, George McGovern, Norman Mailer, Joyce Carol Oates, Ken Burns, Richard Rodriguez, Seamus Heaney, Wendell Berry, Leslie Marmon Silko, Wendy Whelan (with Nilas Martins), Peter Matthiessen, William Styron, Kathleen Norris, Allen D. Glenn, John Dunne, Jared Diamond and Salman Rushdie.
Bellarmine University is an independent Catholic university offering more than 50 majors, as well as graduate degree programs and a doctor of physical therapy. Forbes.com and the Princeton Review rank Bellarmine among America's best institutions for higher education, and U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks Bellarmine as a top tier university.