5 Galileo - Galileo(1564-1642 was born in Pisa in northern...

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Galileo (1564-1642) was born in Pisa in northern Italy but grew up in Florence. He was appointed Professor of Mathematics at the University of Pisa when he was twenty-five, then three years later moved to Padua to teach geometry, math, and astronomy. He was particularly interested in how things worked, and was one of the first European scholars to take up the telescope, invented in 1608. In 1610 he published his treatise The Starry Messenger, announcing his discovery of the moons of Jupiter. By the end of the year he had discovered that Venus displays phases like those of the moon, and had concluded that the sixteenth-century astronomer Copernicus had been right that the planets orbit the sun. In the mid-1610s these ideas drew the Church’s attention, and Galileo came under increasing pressure to renounce them. In 1616 Galileo went to Rome and worked out a compromise with Cardinal Bellarmine, by which Galileo remained free to discuss the heliocentric theory so long as he did not profess to believe in it. This uneasy truce held through the 1620s, but in 1632 Pope Urban VIII decided that Galileo’s new book A Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems was in fact a covert approval of heliocentrism. Galileo was summoned to Rome and in 1633 found guilty of heresy. He was put under house arrest and all his books were banned . Galileo Galilei, Letter to Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany , 1614 To the Most Serene Grand Duchess Mother: Some years ago, as Your Serene Highness well knows, I discovered in the heavens many things that had not been seen before our own age. The novelty of these things, as well as some consequences which followed from them in contradiction to the physical notions commonly held among academic philosophers, stirred up against me no small number of professors—as if I had placed these things in the sky with my own hands in order to upset nature and overturn the sciences! They seemed to forget that the increase of known truths stimulates the investigation, establishment, and growth of the arts, not their diminution or destruction. Showing a greater fondness for their own opinions than for truth they sought to deny and disprove the new things that, if they had cared to look for themselves, their own senses would have demonstrated to them. To this end they hurled various charges and published numerous writings filled with vain arguments, and they made the grave mistake of sprinkling these with passages taken from places in the Bible that they had failed to understand properly, and which were ill suited to their purposes. These men would perhaps not have fallen into such error had they but paid attention to a most useful doctrine of St. Augustine's, 1 relative to our making positive statements about things which are obscure and hard to understand by means of reason alone. Speaking of a certain physical conclusion about the heavenly bodies, he wrote: "Now keeping always our respect for moderation in grave piety, we ought not to believe anything inadvisedly
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This note was uploaded on 05/03/2010 for the course IHUM 69 taught by Professor Morris during the Spring '10 term at Stanford.

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5 Galileo - Galileo(1564-1642 was born in Pisa in northern...

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