What would Galileo Galilei think if he could see us now? The Italian scientist credited with inventing the telescope was born 450 years ago this week.
Galileo might be glad to hear about the triumph of heliocentrism—the idea that the planets rotate around the sun, not the Earth—since this view got Galileo convicted of heresy by the Roman Inquisition.
He might be happy to see how pendulum clocks were invented based on his ideas of pendulum motion. And he'd probably be shocked to know that a telescope bearing his name was launched on a space shuttle to visit the planet Jupiter and the Jovian moons he discovered.
Still, even geniuses can't win 'em all. Perhaps Galileo would be disappointed to learn that the moon really does cause the tides, and that planets do orbit in ellipses, not circles. Those were two ideas of Johannes Kepler's that Galileo rejected.
But all in all, I bet the great Galileo would be impressed with science's progress. Like the discoveries of exoplanets and the expanding universe.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]