All events start at 6 pm and take place at:
National Mechanics
22 S 3rd St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106

October 10, 2016

Plague, Famine, and Death: The Terrifying History of Comets


For millennia, comets were unusual and unpredictable events. They appeared in the sky but were not part of the celestial realm of constellations and planets. Instead, they were thought to occur at the upper edge of the atmosphere. Comets were, consequently, a sort of terrestrial phenomena that demanded both investigation and interpretation. The history of efforts to explain the causes and effects of comets offers a fascinating glimpse at how people observed and understood the natural world. After an overview of that history, Hayton will focus on a couple examples that reveal the various deadly effects of comets.



Speaker Darin Hayton is a historian of science. His research focuses on the creation and dissemination of scientific knowledge about the natural world in the context of Early Modern Europe, Central Europe, and the late Byzantine Empire. He teaches at Haverford College, where he is Associate Professor of the history of science and Chair of the History Department. His recent book, The Crown and the Cosmos, investigates the role of science in Renaissance Europe.

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