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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

Galileo: Learn about the man and his legend

I often find academic lectures a bit unappealing, if not actually boring. I had plenty of those kinds of experiences both as an undergraduate and graduate student. But the program titled "What Can We Learn From Galileo?" which will be held at 7 tonight at Gonzaga University's Jepson Center (in the center's Wolff Auditorium), could well prove to be an exception.

Gonzaga faculty members Brian Clayton and Eric Kincanon will be addressing the facts — and trying to differentiate those from the vast amount of fiction — surrounding the Italian astronomer Galileo Galiei. Clayton, an associate professor of philosophy,  will address Galileo's "legend" versus the "reality," while Kincannon, a professor of physics, will outline the man's many scientific contributions.

Astronomy and the larger world of science are in the news today thanks both to the new "Cosmos" series and the release of the most recent study regarding the Big Bang Theory. And Galileo was one of the men who helped us begin to understand how the universe works, a process that has led humanity gradually away from the dark of superstition.

Tonight's program is free and open to the public.