History of Science Scholar Discusses Mesopotamian Astronomy at Lawrence University

Francesca Rochberg, a scholar on the history of science, presents “The Astronomies of Ancient Mesopotamia” Monday, Oct. 31 in a Archaeological Institute of America lecture at Lawrence University. The presentation, at 7:30 p.m. in Lawrence’s Wriston Art Center auditorium, is free and open to the public. An informal reception with the speaker will follow the address.

A professor of history at the University of California, Riverside, who focuses on ancient astronomy and astrology, Rochberg will discuss the development of Mesopotamian celestial science in the second millennium B.C. and provide context for its place in relation to Western astronomy traditions.

Rochberg was a 1982 recipient of one of the $500,000 MacArthur Foundation “genius grants” and also was awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 1994. She has written extensively on Babylonian astrology, astronomy, cosmology and is the author of three books, including “Babylonian Horoscopes,” for which she was awarded the John Frederick Lewis Award from the American Philosophical Society in 1999. Her latest book, “The Heavenly Writing: Divination, Horoscopy and Astronomy in Mesopotamian Culture” was published in 2004.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Oriental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages from the University of Chicago.