Distinguished Company at RWU

A bestselling author speaks about her latest work


From the very beginning of his tenure, Roger Williams University President Donald J. Farish made it clear that engagement would be a priority of his: faculty engaging with students, the school engaging with the surrounding community, and the world engaging with the school. As part of that effort, he launched the President's Distinguished Speakers Series in October 2011 as the university welcomed statesman, human rights activist and former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young. The series invites leaders and innovators working in various disciplines to spend a day on campus engaging with students and faculty, sitting in on classroom sessions and, of course, giving talks that are open to the public.

This month the series continues as bestselling author Dava Sobel visits the Bristol campus on Tuesday, March 27. A former New York Times science reporter, Sobel found unexpected success as an author with the publication of her first book, 1995's Longitude, which tells the story of John Harrison, the British carpenter and clockmaker who solved the long intractable problem of determining longitude at sea.

She has since become a full-time author, publishing Galileo's Daughter, a view of the famous scientist through the eyes of his daughter, in 1999, and The Planets, which explores the "origins and oddities" of the planets in our solar system, in 2005. Sobel is known for her gift of turning science and history into compelling, relatable storytelling.

Her talk at Roger Williams will focus on her latest book, A More Perfect Heaven, which combines a nonfiction narrative and fictional play about Nicolaus Copernicus, the scientist who dared to contradict the 16th century belief in an Earth-centered universe. The event begins at 7:30pm, with doors open at 7. A book signing and reception immediately follow. The talk will take place the RWU Campus Recreation Center; it is free and open to the public. For more information call 401-254-3201.