Galileo's Battle for the Heavens

400 years ago today, Galileo Galilei introduced his first telescope to the world. The discoveries Galileo would make with this rather simple instrument, as well as the application of mathematical descriptions of his observations, would revolutionize our understanding of the universe and our place within it, and would mark him not only as a great mathematician and natural philosopher, but as one of the founding fathers of modern science.

Galileo's discoveries, as well as his passion for truth and demonstration over authority and dogma (a skill he learned from his father), placed him in a dangerous tension with the Church, which eventually convicted him to house imprisonment for life. Science and religion have never quite been able to reconcile since, and for the past four centuries, science has consistently continued to undermine not only religious beliefs but the fundamental epistemic assumptions behind its method of faith (if you can call that a method).

Although a Christian himself, Galileo is famous for asserting a conviction that resonates with great significance even today:
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo its use.
This is his story:



It only took the Vatican four centuries to 'pardon' Galileo... for being right :)
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