Galileo Galilee's advancements in astronomy forever changed the way the Western world viewed itself. His support of the heliocentric theory in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems- Ptolemaic and Copernican published in 1632 included new advancements in Nikolai Copernicus' theory. Though these ideas had great scientific implications, the philosophical effects were just as important and far more widespread. The Holy Catholic Church staunchly supported the geocentric version and had previously condemned Copernicus' De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium ("On the Revolutions of the Celestial Orbs").
[...] To improve on this Galileo learned how to grind and polish his own lenses and by August 1609 he had an instrument with a magnification of around eight or nine. By the end of 1609 Galileo had turned his telescope on the night sky and began to make remarkable discoveries. He observed mountains on the moon, sunspots on the Sun, and tiny objects orbiting the planet Jupiter. Noel Swerdlow, a prominent scientist, wrote, about two months, December and January, he made more discoveries that changed the world than anyone has ever made before or since.” The astronomical discoveries Galileo made with his telescopes were described in a short book called the Starry Messenger published in Venice in May 1610. [...]
[...] The advancement of the telescope by Galileo himself provided scientists with the means to prove that he had been right all along. With each subsequent improvement on the device, the telescope became the primary instrument for astronomers to study the stars and planets. Galileo advanced the field of astronomy further than any man who came before or after. He advanced the view of Copernicus and forced the world to come to grips with the truth. Even though his work inflamed many scholars and religious leaders, Galileo was able to come to terms with his religion and science. [...]
[...] Even though he began his work less than a century after Copernicus, Galileo had the unfortunate circumstance of arriving on the scene during the Inquisition. In 1542 Pope Paul III established a permanent congregation staffed with cardinals and other officials, whose task was to maintain and defend the integrity of the faith and to examine and proscribe errors and false doctrines. Shortly after Galileo's publication of the Letter, the Church convened and condemned the teachings of Copernicus, and forbade Galileo to hold any similar views. [...]
[...] Though Copernicus was the first modern scientist to champion the theory of a heliocentric solar system, it was Galileo who brought the argument to the forefront of the time. Even in his early life he had been interested in science and his desire to study mathematics intensified when he attended the University of Pisa. Galileo eventually became a teacher of the subject and rose to a prominent position teaching in Padua. It was there where he first came into contact with the telescope. [...]
[...] Furthermore, the main characteristics of Aristotle's model were that of degree, order, priority, and place. Each object had its own distinct role in the hierarchy of the universe. This pattern reflected down into the societal structure of the world. If this order was disrupted chaos would ensue. Galileo's Dialogue broke this order in profound ways and led to his sentencing under the Inquisition. While scholars studied Aristotle's cosmology for centuries following his death, they realized that his astronomical observations were slightly off. [...]
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