Famous People Wandering the Halls of AAS

Walking the halls of the AAS meetings we found Galileo Galilei, who actually looks pretty good for being 440 years old. He had a briefing with officials from the inquisition (the media) and said that he has just returned from Rome on his book tour, promoting Sidereus Nuncius (Starry Messenger). But here, he met up with another author, Dava Sobel, who wrote “Galileo’s Daughter,” and is in St. Louis to speak at a public lecture in conjunction with the AAS meeting.

The International Year of Astronomy (IYA) which celebrates 400 years since Galileo looked through his telescope, is being promoted heavily here at the AAS meeting, which includes educational workshops and symposiums sponsored by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, highlighting special educational programs specifically created for IYA.

Speaking of education, Galileo says that being a professor is difficult. “The work is hard and the pay is terrible,” he said. “I’m looking to invent something here during the next year which might give me some fame.”

Galileo was played by Mark Thompson, an impersonator who actually is an amateur astronomer. Although he kind of transited back and forth to the present and the past, he said he’s currently living in IYA time, which means he hasn’t yet built his telescope. That will happen coming up next year.

More information about Mark Thompson as Galileo.

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