Of course da Vinci was an artistic scientist, but Galileo and Copernicus too?

Birdie Champ

Stephen Hawking

In 2009, Stephen Hawking wrote, “Galileo, perhaps more than any other single person, was responsible for the birth of modern science”.  Just over 400 years ago, Galileo Galilei pointed his telescope to the Italian night sky, and with pencil and water colors, captured the texture and phases of the moon. Sadly, the philosophy he held that mere humans could attempt to understand these workings of the universe just by observing it conflicted with the views of the dominating Catholic Church. In 1632 he was sentenced to house arrest for the last 10 years of his life because of his support of heliocentrism [Hawking, 2009]. Galileo’s ideology challenged the Church’s supposition that only God could know the truth about what lies at the center of the universe. Moreover, his challenging of the widely held geocentric theory was in actuality a challenge of “homocentric” theory, which the Church considered a blasphemous affront…

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