We consider Galileo Galilei the father of modern science. He’s made major contributions in the fields of physics, astronomy, cosmology, mathematics and philosophy. Galileo invented a better telescope. It let him observe the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, the phases of Venus, sunspots and the moon’s surface.
Galileo is probably best known for his advocacy of a heliocentric universe (sun-centered universe where the planets revolve around the sun), instead of a geocentric universe (everything revolves around Earth) which was the accepted viewpoint. This viewpoint brought Galileo on the radar of the Catholic Church and into a long running dispute with the Church.
In 1616, the Catholic Church placed Nicholas Copernicus book “De Revolutionibus,” on its list of books that are banned. The book was banned because it made a scientific argument for a heliocentric universe. Galileo supported Copernicus’ viewpoint, but once this move was made by the church, Pope Paul V summoned him and told he could no longer support Copernicus publicly. Yes, the Catholic Church had that type of power back then.
In 1632, Galileo published the “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems.” The book presented arguments for both sides of the heliocentrism debate. In the book, the advocate for geocentrism was named “Simplicius,” AKA a simpleton. This disguise of a balanced argument didn’t fool anyone, and once again, Galileo was summoned before the Roman Inquisition (the Catholic church) in 1633.
At the trial, Galileo denied he advocated for heliocentrism, but then later said if he did so, he only did it unintentionally. In the final interrogation, they threatened Galileo with torture if he didn’t tell the truth, but he maintained his denial about heliocentrism. They forced him to express sorrow for his words and curse his errors.
The Church found Galileo “vehemently suspect of heresy.” The basis of this charge was that the idea of the Sun being the center of the universe, and not the earth, is contrary to the Holy Scriptures. His book was banned by the Church, and publication of his works, including future ones, were forbidden. Last, they sentenced him to house arrest for the rest of his life. Galileo was nearly 70 when this verdict was given. He lived 9…