Galileo Galilei was an unknown, north Italian professor of mathematics, a lover of good wines with a razor-sharp wit until 1609, when he was given a telescope. It changed his and our lives for ever.

It led to “The Galileo Affair” that began in 1610 and ended in 1633 with his trial by the Roman Catholic Inquisition. All because his telescope showed him the Earth revolving around the Sun.

He distributed a paper explaining what he saw through his telescope. He saw that the Earth and planets revolved around the Sun.

Unfortunately, the Catholic Church didn’t like his paper, therefore in 1616 they banned his writing, commanded that he stop teaching or defending his ideas, then, went even further by ordering him to stop even holding these ideas!

It didn’t work. Later that year he released a paper proposing that the tides were caused by the rotation of the earth. Once more, he upset the Church!

Then in 1632 he published a further extremely popular paper explaining how the world rotated around the sun. This was too much for the Roman Catholic Church.  Therefore, in 1633, he was sent to the Inquisition.  Guess what?  They found him guilty of heresy, sentencing him to indefinite imprisonment, putting him under house arrest until his death!

Unfortunately for him, at that time everyone’s ideas of the cosmos came from the Classical Greek ideas of Aristotle, updated by Ptolemy in Roman times.  However, his problems were magnified as he disagreed with too many other current theories.  For example, he got involved in the argument as to why things float on water.  He agreed with Archimedes while again disagreeing again with Aristotle.

I understand he was a bit too blunt, also they say, sarcastic, both of which probably didn’t help him get his ideas across, and possibly helped those who disagreed with him. Nevertheless, he was an extraordinary man, who helped the world to advance. Unfortunately, he was fighting the Church, which was always interested in keeping the status quo.

Without people like Galileo, who aren’t put off and who kept challenging convention, our world would never have moved on to become the one we have today.

Isn’t History fun?