In the year of Galileo, it is only fitting that the Italian Heritage and Culture Committee of New York would structure its annual celebration of Italian heritage in part around the famed Italian astronomer. The organization's Italian Heritage and Culture Month this year recognized the International Year of Astronomy, commemorating Galileo's revolutionary leap 400 years ago, when he began making celestial observations through the telescopes he built.

One of the committee's honorees in light of Galileo's contributions to science was Mariette DiChristina, acting editor in chief of Scientific American and Scientific American Mind. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer presented DiChristina with distinguished honors—in the form of a large, framed proclamation—on October 20 at City Hall in New York City, alongside Borough of Manhattan Community College astronomer Shana Tribiano, in the portion of the evening dedicated to Galileo and the International Year of Astronomy. (The event also marked the 100th anniversary this year of the assassination of Giuseppe Petrosino, an Italian-American New York City detective.)

For more on Galileo's work in 1609, see's in-depth report on the International Year of Astronomy.

Photo of DiChristina and family: Steve Mirsky