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Statue of Galileo commissioned by Gran Duke Leopoldo of Tuscany and located in Prato della Valle, a very large square in Padova, in 1780. It was sculpted by Pietro Danieletti a local artist.

This conference aims to highlight mankind's path towards an improved knowledge of the sky using mathematical and mechanical tools as well as monuments and buildings, giving rise, in so doing, to scientific astronomy.

It will analyze similarities and differences among cultures and countries in exploiting the shared resource that the sky represents, and will examine the historical-political and scientific background favouring the progress of scientific astronomy in different epochs and countries, progress that led to a crucial turning-point for observational astronomy when Galileo turned the telescope to the night sky and initiated the New Astronomy.

A major aim of the meeting is to help move forward the process of ensuring the recognition and protection of cultural properties around the globe that bear powerful witness to the development of astronomy in diverse cultural contexts.
This meeting is held in the context of the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) which aims to

help the citizens of the world rediscover their place in the Universe through the day- and night time sky, and thereby engage a personal sense of wonder and discovery. All humans should realize the impact of astronomy and basic sciences on our daily lives, and understand better how scientific knowledge can contribute to a more equitable and peaceful society.