Galileo Galilei: Historical Astronomers in Context

Galileo Galilei: born Feb. 15 1564 ; died Jan. 8 1642

December 1613: Galileo finds evidence that supports the Copernican system of a heliocentric Solar System, saying that the ocean tides increase and decrease according to the rotation of Earth on its axis and Earth’s revolution around the sun.

April 12, 1633: Galileo is put on trial by the Catholic church where he is forced to recant his belief of heliocentrism. Galileo is then put on house arrest and banned from continuing his research.

  Pope Urban VIII (April 5 1568- July 29) 1644 was responsible for putting Galileo on trial for heresy against the Catholic church. The pope had previously given Galileo permission to write about the Copernican theory, but Galileo’s publication of Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems of the World in 1932 embarrassed the church forcing the pope to bring Galileo to trial.

The life of Galileo often embodies the challenges associated with making new scientific discoveries. Despite all of the overwhelming evidence pointing towards a heliocentric theory, the world was not ready to accept it. Throughout human history, we have always selfishly deemed humans as the center of the universe. At the time of Galileo’s discovery, our egos were not ready to believe that we are not as special as we had previously thought. I believe that this bias has delayed many contributions to modern science, as people try to fit the data to match their preconceived notions about our world, rather than letting the data speak for itself.