Posts Tagged ‘Galileo Galilei’
Top Renaissance scientists and scholars gathered on a grassy hill overlooking Rome one starry spring night 400 years ago to gaze into a unique innovation by Galileo Galilei: the telescope.
“This was really an exciting event. This was the first time that Galileo showed off his telescope in public to the educated people of Rome, which was the center of culture in Italy at that time,” said Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, Vatican astronomer, as he stood on the same knoll.
Today, the grassy hill is part of the American Academy in Rome, which celebrated its connection to Galileo earlier this year with a number of events that included a discussion of faith and science with Brother Consolmagno.
The Renaissance men gathered on the Janiculum hill included Jesuit scholars, such as Jesuit Father Christopher Clavius, who helped devise the Gregorian calendar 40 years earlier.
Brother Consolmagno told CNS that the unveiling of the telescope was so significant because “this is the first time that science is done with an instrument. It’s not something that just any philosopher could look at. You had to have the right tool to be able to be able to see it,” because one’s own eyes were no longer enough.
“People then wanted to look for themselves and see if they were seeing the same things Galileo was seeing,” he said.