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The Crime Of Galileo Galilei - Biography

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Author Topic: The Crime Of Galileo Galilei - Biography  (Read 2033 times)
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« Reply #60 on: March 15, 2009, 11:32:13 am »

                                                Florence show stars Galileo

                                    Exhibit celebrates his groundbreaking discoveries

- Florence,
March 13, 2009

- A sweeping exhibition of art, scientific instruments, star maps and ancient artefacts opened in Florence on Friday, celebrating conceptions of the cosmos and the groundbreaking discoveries of Galileo Galilei. 'Images of the Universe from Antiquity to the Telescope' promises a dazzling array of exhibits, carrying visitors on a voyage through centuries of ideas about the universe and the cosmos.

More than 250 precious objects are on display from an array of fields, with paintings, drawings, telescopes, star charts, archaeological finds, mosaics, sculptures, illuminated manuscripts and functioning cosmological models. The exhibition, a key event in international celebrations marking 400 years since Galileo's first observations of the night sky, is divided into eight sections. The first looks back to the dawn of astronomy, focusing on Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt and the Biblical cosmos. The second and third parts explore Ancient Greek conceptions of the cosmos, the spherical model developed by Plato and Aristotle and the geometrical vision of Ptolemy. The fourth, fifth and six parts respectively spotlight Islamic visions of the universe, their Christianization and the rebirth of astronomy with Copernicus and his sun-centred theory. The seventh section focuses on Galileo, featuring one of his two surviving telescopes, while the exhibition concludes with progress made by Johannes Kepler and Isaac Newton in legitimising his theories.

Also on display will be the middle finger from Galileo's right hand, mounted on a marble base and encased in a crystal jar. The digit was removed from his body in 1737, nearly a century after his death, when his remains were exhumed from an unconsecrated grave and transferred to Florence's principal Franciscan church, the Basilica of the Holy Cross. The general excitement surrounding the anniversary of Galileo's discoveries has also revived talk of a second exhumation. Last year, a team of Italian and British scientists said they had requested permission from the Catholic Church to open the mausoleum in order to carry out DNA tests. The researchers said they were seeking further information on the degenerative eye condition that eventually left Galileo blind, as well as confirmation that the remains of the woman sharing his tomb are those of his daughter. Sister Maria Celeste, one of the scientist's illegitimate children with his long-time mistress Marina Gamba, was sent to a convent at age 13 but remained close to her father throughout her life. But the church's director, Father Antonio Di Marcantonio, said ''an official request of this nature has not been received''. ''Furthermore, I have always made it clear I am opposed to the idea,'' he said. ''I see no point in breaking a tomb to disturb the final rest of a figure of the past. ''Besides which, exhumations entail extensive bureaucracy, requiring permission both from the Church and Florence's Superintendent's Office''. 
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« Reply #61 on: July 02, 2009, 12:21:26 pm »

                                Vatican should learn from Galileo mess, prelate says

Philip Pullella
July 1, 2009

The Catholic Church should not fear scientific progress and possibly repeat the mistake it made when it condemned astronomer Galileo in the 17th century, a Vatican official said on Thursday in a rare self-criticism.

Galileo, who lived from 1564 to 1642, was condemned by the Inquisition in 1633 for asserting that the earth revolved around the sun.

Known as the father of astronomy, he wasn't fully rehabilitated by the Vatican until 1992, nearly 360 years later.

At a news conference presenting a new volume of documents on the Galileo case, Monsignor Sergio Pagano, head of the Vatican's secret archives, said today's Church and Vatican officials can learn from past mistakes and shed their diffidence toward science.

"Can this teach us something today? I certainly think so," he said, in a rare display of self-criticism for the Vatican.

"We should be careful, when we read the Sacred Scriptures and have to deal with scientific questions, to not make the same mistake now that was made then," he said.

"I am thinking of stem cells, I am thinking of eugenics, I am thinking of scientific research in these fields. Sometimes I have the impression that they are condemned with the same preconceptions that were used back then for the Copernican theory," he said.

The Inquisition, which sought out heresies, condemned Galileo for backing a theory of astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus because it clashed with the Bible which said: "God fixed the Earth upon its foundation, not to be moved forever."

Pagano said it was necessary for today's Church leaders and Vatican officials "to study more, to be more prudent, evaluate things" when dealing with scientific advances.

He said that while scientists should not presume they can teach the Church about faith, the Church should not be afraid to approach scientific issues with "much humility and circumspection."

The Catholic Church, other religious groups and anti-abortion advocates oppose embryonic stem cell research -- which scientists hope can lead to cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's -- because it involves the destruction of embryos.

But the Church supports adult stem cell research, which has made advances in recent years.

The relationship between religion and science has been tense and tricky for centuries.

For example, Christian Churches were long hostile to the evolutionist theories of Charles Darwin because they conflicted with the literal biblical account of God creating the world in six days.

(Editing by
Sonya Hepinstall)
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