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Simonetta Di Pippo
Visiting Professor of Practice of Physics

NYU Abu Dhabi
Andrea V. Macciò
Professor of Physics

Director of the Center for Astrophysics and Space Science

NYU Abu Dhabi 


The Center for Astrophysics and Space Science is a merger of the Center for Space Science and the Center for Astro, Particle and Planetary Physics. It is composed of a unique combination of theorists, observers, and instrument builders dedicated to understanding the nature of the cosmos. Our research spans an incredible vast range of temporal and spatial astronomical scales, from our own Sun and its planets to the whole Universe. CASS hopes to enhance facilitating and investigating for future progress in five core research areas.


Image Credit: Benjamin Barakat 

Caption: The Abu Dhabi night sky, taken as part of Capturing the Cosmos: an Astrophotography Workshop produced by the Center for Astrophysics and Space Science on October 22, 2022. 

Copyright: CASS/NYUAD

Logo Credit: Goffredo Puccetti, Associate Professor of Practice of Visual Arts, NYU Abu Dhabi 

In 1609 Galileo Galilei published the Sidereus Nuncius (The Starry Messenger); in it we found one of the most evocative and foundational description of the principle of the scientific method when, while describing what he had been capable of observing thanks to his spyglass, Galileo wrote:

Quod tertio loco a nobis fuit observatum est ipsius LACTEI Circuli essentia, seu materies, quam Perspicilli beneficio adeo ad sensum licet intueri, ut et altercationes omnes, quae per tot saecula philosophos excruciaverunt, ab oculata certitudine dirimantur, nosque a verbosis disputationibus liberemur.

What was observed by us in the third place is the nature or matter of the Milky Way itself, which, with the aid of the spyglass, may be observed so well that all the disputes that for so many generations have vexed philosophers are destroyed by visible certainty, and we are liberated from wordy arguments.

(Translation by Albert Van Helden in Sidereus Nuncius (Chicago, 1989)),
With few well placed words, Galileo set the ground for the scientific revolution that will follow and endure for ever: from now on we will form our hypotheses and validate them only when corroborated by visible, verifiable, certain observations!

In the same Starry Messenger he then complemented his scientific observations with beautiful visualizations in which he displayed unprecedented ingenuity: to show in print the revolution of moons around Jupiter, he needed nothing more than four asterisks and a tilted capital ‘O’.  
These visualizations are still considered by many scholars among the most exquisite and elegant examples of information design.
When asked to conceive the visual identity for a conference devoted to the issue of astronomical observations and how to keep them relevant, I went immediately to Galileo: his visualizations and the beautiful expression he coined will make a meaningful, memorable and distinctive icon for the conference.

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