Colloquium Event

Seeing the invisible: music, art and an evolutionary step


In a 1954 paper “Galileo as a critic of the arts”,  Erwin Panofsky wrote that the Florentine’s culture in which Galileo lived, his participation  in the visual arts, literature and music communities that at the time made Florence a leading European intellectual center, nurtured his pioneering scientific work, an important step toward  modern science and the exploration of the universe. Working with his father Vincenzio, part of the movement that revolutionized music and created opera at the end of the XVI century, the young Galileo was introduced to experimental studies of how the sound from a vibrating string depends on length, tension and mass. Following Panofsky we look at the similarity between Galileo’s scientific approach and his analysis and appreciation of art and literature and discuss how his knowledge of visual arts had a large impact on his observations of the Moon and Venus and the beginning of modern astronomy. 

Speaker Name

Claudio Pellegrini

Speaker Institution

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory - Linac Coherent Light Source

Speaker Information

Claudio Pellegrini is a physicist recognized for his work on electron and photon beams physics, coherent X-ray sources, particle accelerators and their applications, novel lasers/ plasmas accelerators. He is particularly known for his work on collective effects and self-organization phenomena. Understanding these phenomena, and how to control and utilize them, was critically important for electron-positron colliders development for high-energy physics, leading to the standard model of elementary particles, and for the development of X-ray free-electron lasers, which opened a new exploration window for atomic and molecular science at the Angstrom-femtosecond space and time resolution. Pellegrini was born in Rome, Italy, where he grew up. He graduated from the University of Rome in 1958 and received the “Libera Docenza” in 1965. He worked at Frascati National Laboratory in Italy and Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York. He was Fellow at CERN. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles and is now working at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and has been Chair of the APS Division of Physics of Beams. He received a Fulbright Fellowship, the APS R.R. Robert Wilson Prize, the Free-electron Laser Prize and the Enrico Fermi Presidential Award. He is a member of the National Academies of Sciences.

Claudio Pellegrini is mainly interested in multi body, collective and self-organization phenomena in particle beams and their applications to particle colliders for high energy physics and the generation of coherent X-ray radiation with free-electron lasers. X-ray lasers in the Angstrom region using population inversion in the inner atomic levels are not possible because of their short lifetime. Pellegrini proposed an alternative approach using free-electron lasers (FELs) based on self-amplified spontaneous emission (SASE). He lead the work to establish the theoretical foundation of X-ray SASE FELs and the experimental work at UCLA demonstrating for the first time the validity of the theoretical models, measuring very large gain and the statistical properties of the radiation. His work lead to the development of X-ray FELs in the USA and worldwide, opening for the first time the exploration of atomic and molecular science at the simultaneous Angstrom-femtosecond space and time resolution. X-ray FELs are producing breakthrough new science in chemistry, physics and biology. He is continuing his work to extend the capabilities of X-ray FELs to ultra-high peak power and attosecond pulse duration.


through PST


Kavli Auditorium