Exploring gravitation through the work of Galileo, Newton, and Einstein, the 2009 Margaret and Herman Sokol Science Lecture, “Gravitation: From Galileo to Einstein and Beyond” was presented by internationally renowned physicist, Eugenio Coccia at the Alexander Kasser Theater on October 20.
Choosing his topic in honor of the 400th anniversary of Galileo turning his telescope to the night sky, and the International Year of Astronomy, Coccia used his talk to explore the breakthroughs of Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton, and the vision of Albert Einstein, who described gravity as a “curvature of spacetime” making it possible for people to understand cosmic phenomena like gravitational waves, black holes, and “spaghettification.”
His talk was preceded by remarks from Constantine Theodosiou, dean of The Graduate School and vice provost for Research, and Consul Andrea Barbaria of the Consulate of Italy in Newark, and followed by an extended question and answer session which resulted in lively exchange on a variety of topics—with an emphasis on life on other worlds and the phenomena of black holes.
Coccia is the director of the INFN National Laboratory of Gran Sasso, Italy, the world’s largest underground laboratory for astroparticle physics. He was also a full professor of gravitational physics at the University of Rome Tor Vergata.
The Sokol Science Lecture was presented by Montclair State University’s College of Science and Mathematics and this year, was co-sponsored by the University’s Joseph and Elda Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America.
Established in 2002 through a gift from benefactors Margaret and Herman Sokol, the annual Sokol Science Lecture Series has explored subjects from the environment and sustainability to human evolution to last year’s exploration of the relationship between neuroscience and art. It provides a valuable opportunity for members of the University and surrounding communities to gain a greater appreciation and expanded knowledge of important issues in science.
View more photos from the event.