This lecture examines the impact of the mathematical and scientifi c work of Galileo Galilei, whose discoveries contributed to the paradigm shift from the cosmology of Ptolemy to the Copernican system. We shall situate Galileo in the context of the mathematical and scientifi c thinking of his own time, the thinking that led to his discoveries, and we shall discuss theological, political, social, economic, and technological impacts of his new ideas, especially as they are represented in Bertolt Brecht’s play Galileo.
As Brecht found Galileo’s life and work relevant to the mid-20Th century, so we shall conclude with some observations on present cosmological research and its implications.
Conrad Hewitt has a degree in Mathematical Physics from the University of Sussex. After completing a Master’s degree in Aberdeen, he moved to Waterloo to study the techniques from the theory of ordinary differential equations applied to classical cosmology. He is currently trying to extend the results from this work to demonstrate that typical models of the universe exhibit random behaviour. He is Associate Professor of Mathematics at St. Jerome’s University and winner of a University’s Distinguished Teaching Award.
Ted McGree is a Professor in the English Department at St. Jerome’s University in the University of Waterloo. He regularly teaches courses on Shakespeare (on page and stage), on literary editing, and on “ e Rebel in Literature”. A member of the Board of Governors of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival from 1992 to 1999, he still serves on the Education and Archives Committee of the Board. He has published many articles on theatre history and is currently working on an edition of Othello and a little book entitled God, Sex and Money: Libelous Poems of Early Modern England.
St. Jerome's University
Canadian Mathematical Society