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Harvard professor and science historian Owen Gingerich to deliver Peter S. Graham Inaugural Lecture March 2
Harvard professor and science historian Owen Gingerich to deliver Peter S. Graham Inaugural Lecture March 2February 16, 2006Carol K. Masiclatclkim@syr.edu
The Syracuse University Library and The College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University present the Peter S. Graham Scholarly Commons Dedication and Inaugural Lecture Thursday, March 2, at 3:30 p.m. at E.S. Bird Library (first floor). The inaugural lecture, “Four Early Books That Changed the World,” will be delivered by Owen Gingerich, professor emeritus of astronomy and the history of science at Harvard University and senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.
“Owen Gingerich is exactly the right choice for the first Peter Graham lecture,” says Cathryn R. Newton, dean of The College of Arts and Sciences. “He combines flawless scholarship at the highest level with a reverence for books, a sparkling sense of intellectual adventure, compelling lucidity and unquenchable curiosity. This kind of catalyst for the conversations to come is just what Peter most wanted us to have in his memory.”
Gingerich’s far-ranging research interests include the re-computation of an ancient Babylonian mathematical table and the interpretation of stellar spectra. He is co-author of two successive standard models for the solar atmosphere that were the first to take into account rocket and satellite observations of the sun. In a career spanning more than four decades, Gingerich established a reputation as a leading authority on the 17th-century German astronomer Johannes Kepler and the 16th-century Polish cosmologist Nicolaus Copernicus, proponents of the heliocentric system.
“The Book Nobody Read” (Walker and Company, 2004), an account of his Copernican adventures, has been published as a Penguin paperback in seven foreign-language editions. Gingerich has served as a vice president of the American Philosophical Society, America’s oldest scholarly organization, and as chair of the U.S. National Committee of the International Astronomical Union. As a councilor of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), he helped to organize its Historical Astronomy Division. The AAS honored Gingerich in 2000 with the Doggett Prize for his work in the history of astronomy and in 2004 with its Education Prize. An asteroid is named in his honor.
Peter S. Graham (1939?2004) served as University librarian from 1998?2003 and professor of English and textual studies from 2000?03 at SU, before succumbing to cancer in 2004. Although his tenure was brief, Graham’s leadership brought about significant changes in the Syracuse University library system. He revitalized the library by appointing nationally known leaders as heads of major library areas. By supporting traditional scholarly materials as well as new information technologies, he ensured the continuity of the library’s high standards and prepared it to thrive in a rapidly changing academic research environment. Graham also created the History of the Book Seminar Series and welcomed campus and community members to library events.
Graham came to Syracuse from Rutgers University, where he served as associate university librarian and associate vice president for information services.
Earlier in his career, Graham held positions at Columbia University, Indiana University and the Research Libraries Group. An active leader in his profession, he was a member of the governing bodies of the American Library Association, the Bibliographical Society of America and the Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities. He served on the advisory boards of the Book Arts Press and the CEDARS project (U.K.), the board of directors of the Research Libraries Group and the steering committee of the Coalition for Networked Information. A provocative writer, Graham frequently published on issues of scholarly preservation, digital library standards and necessary changes for contemporary research libraries.
Since Graham’s death, the library has raised more than $110,000 to support the renovation of space on the first floor of E.S. Bird Library to become the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons. This 1,500-square-foot multipurpose room will beused for lectures such as the History of the Book and the Library Associates Series, and for hosting large events, receptions and meetings for campus and the community. The Commons is a tribute to Graham’s work to raise the intellectual and cultural environment in the library and across campus.
The dedication ceremony begins at 3:30 p.m., followed by the lecture at 4 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. Paid parking is available at the University Avenue Garage at a flat fee of $ 3.25 to those who identify themselves as attending this function as they leave the garage. The garage will be staffed until 10 p.m., and the attendees should pull a ticket from the ticket dispenser as they enter. Attendees should take the ticket with them as they leave so that they can use it to open the pedestrian doors when they re-enter the garage. Directions to the garage can be found at http://parking.syr.edu.
For more information, contact Gregory J. Griffin at 443-2537 or firstname.lastname@example.org.