Data Centre for Astrophysics
Astronomy Department of the University of Geneva
ISDC Seminar

Friday, 24 February 2006 at 16:00

Giovanni F. Bignami
Centre d'Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements (CESR), Toulouse, France

History in Space

Abstract. The talk will be centered on the recent French edition of my book "Explorer l'espace pour remonter le temps" (Odile Jacob, Paris, 2006). It tells the story of some great Europeans who gave their names to well known scientific space missions of recent years. The missions are: ESA's Giotto, NASA's Galileo, ESA/NASA's Cassini, ASI's BeppoSax, NASA's RossiXTE and ESA's Bepi Colombo. The lives and times of Giotto di Bondone in the 14th century, of Galileo Galilei and Jean-Dominique Cassini in the 17th, and of Giuseppe Occhialini, Bruno Rossi and Giuseppe Colombo in the 20th will be presented, together with science highlights of their namesake missions. Italian, European and US history are presented as a background for the advancement of culture, as reflected in the naming of great space enterprises.

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