Galileo, Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems (1632)
Welcome to my professional portfolio in the humanities and digital humanities.
I am Dr. Caterina Agostini, a historian of science at Indiana University Bloomington. My work is based at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine and the Institute for Digital Arts & Humanities, where I research and design the critical edition of Sir Isaac Newton's alchemical manuscripts. The Chymistry of Isaac Newton project is funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities to document Newton's interests in alchemy, or the search for the philosopher's stone. Manuscripts are housed in worldwide collections, including the Huntington Library, Cambridge, and the National Library of Israel.
My current book manuscript is a project discussing Galileo Galilei's scientific work. I earned my Ph.D. from Rutgers University, where I was awarded the 2021 Rutgers School of Graduate Studies Award for Excellence in Outreach and Service. My Ph.D. dissertation, Scientific Thinking and Narrative Discourse in Early Modern Italy, explores scientific narratives and cultural productions in the context of the Scientific Revolution. The history of science, medical humanities, and scientific illustrations have been among my main research interests. Those topics have inspired me since childhood. Born in Padua, I became fascinated with the locales and culture where Galileo spent his “eighteen happiest years” – from 1592 to 1610 (from Galileo's letter to Fortunio Liceti, 3 June 1640; Opere di Galileo XVIII, 207-209). “Fair Padua, nursery of the arts” is how Shakespeare described the setting for his play The Taming of the Shrew, written between 1590 and 1592 (Act I, Scene I). Galileo, to me, is a brilliant mind, a great scientist, and an author whose works I’d search and read, admiring his prose and poems in my hometown libraries and worldwide.
I have become interested in the humanities and cultural heritage, as well as in computers and communication. I wanted to learn more about digital humanities tools: visualization techniques, mapping, and text analysis. As a digital humanist, I have developed projects on my own, discussed findings with people who share my views, and I learned to interact with those who do not. I often learn something new when I challenge my beliefs and go further, for example collaborating on team projects. By doing digital work and consulting on projects, user interfaces, and image collections, I see myself as an active member of an international Republic of Letters, or res publica litterarum, in the Latin phrase that scholars used in the Renaissance. Therefore, it is my call to contribute to an intangible community of scholarship and practice where I advance research, while developing outreach programs and encouraging diverse audiences to join cultural, digital debates. To bring my contribution in the scholarly community, and my experience as a digital specialist and a polyglot, I am Co-Chair of the IIIF Outreach Community Group, where I collaborate with colleagues to expand the outreach of the International Image Interoperability Framework to underrepresented communities and languages.
I have published scholarly research on Galileo and early modern science, Italian cultural studies, and computational methods. I received the Eugene Garfield Fellowship at the American Philosophical Society (forthcoming; postponed due to the pandemic). I am a Phi Sigma Iota member supporting the humanities across classical and modern languages and literatures. When I am not on campus or at the library (physical and digital), I love cooking Italian and international food. I enjoy watching movies and would go to the movie theater weekly, in normal times. These, however, are extraordinary times, and we benefit from digital communication allowing us to be closer, while apart. If you want to chat about material book history, Italian texts, the history of science, the 1500s and 1600s, or computational methods, I would be happy to get in touch with you.
Selected Current Work
What I am reading
Galileo Galilei, Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche intorno a due nuove scienze (Two New Sciences). Leiden: 1638
Take a look at my project, Padua Painted City. As a sponsored speaker at the 2022 International Congress on Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo Online), I talked about 14th-century fresco cycles included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
From the Desk of Caterina Agostini
Caterina Agostini works with ancient books and teaches courses in the History of Science and Digital Humanities at the undergraduate and graduate levels at IU Bloomington. She taught at Princeton University, Rutgers University, Rutgers Honors College, the Rutgers Digital Humanities Initiative and Lab, the New Jersey Digital Humanities Consortium, the New York City Digital Humanities Week, North Carolina State University and NC State Data Experience Lab, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Wake Forest University. As a digital expert in cultural heritage, Dr. Agostini serves as co-chair in the IIIF Outreach group, and is a member of the Scholar Advisory Group at Pharos, The International Consortium of Photo Archives, and the Europeana Pro digital community. She earned her Ph.D. degree from Rutgers University.
Dr. Agostini has a forthcoming fellowship to complete her book manuscript as the Eugene Garfield Fellow at the American Philosophical Society. She is a Phi Sigma Iota member, promoting the humanities on all fronts.