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Mysteries of science theater

400th anniversary of Galileo's stargazing feted with drama and discourse

Four hundred years ago, an Italian mathematician named Galileo Galilei first turned his newly built telescope toward the sky. What he saw would change his life and rock the established view of the cosmos.

To mark that fateful event, the Catalyst Collaborative @ MIT and Underground Railway Theater are staging a production of "The Life of Galileo," the classic play by Bertolt Brecht, translated by David Hare, April 10 through May 17 at the Central Square Theater.

Additionally, the theater will hold a series of pre-performance symposia and post-performance talkbacks that will bring Nobel laureates and other experts to talk with theatergoers about science, religion, faith and education.

The first post-performance talk back will be held after the opening night performance on April 10 with Frank Wilczek, the Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics and a 2004 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics. The first pre-performance symposia, to be held April 11 from 6 to 7 p.m. will explore the question, "Who rocked our world more: Galileo or Darwin?" with Hidde Ploegh, MIT biology professor, and Sara Schechner, curator of historical scientific instruments at Harvard.

Other participants include: Alan Guth, the Weisskopf Professor of Physics (April 25); David Kaiser, associate professor in the Program in Science, Technology and Society (May 16); MIT Associate Provost Claude Canizares, vice president for research (April 29); and Eric S. Lander, director of the Broad Institute (May 1).

The talkbacks and symposia are free with the admission to the performance. A schedule is available at The theater is located at 450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-576-9278. Tickets are $32, students $18 and seniors $22.

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