Galileo’s fingers are kept in a museum in Italy.Image Credit source: Wikimedia Commons/Zde
Earth is not the center point of the solar system. Today there are many arguments to prove this claim. At least a dozen humans have gone to space and seen this with their own eyes. But 400 years ago, a person who said such things was called a madman. The great Italian scientist Galileo always advocated science. By advocating science, he incurred the wrath of the powerful Catholic Church.
Galileo was an Italian physicist and astronomer. He was born on 15 February 1564 in Pisa. Galileo’s father wanted him to become a doctor but his interest was in mathematics. Later he became a professor of mathematics. In his life he revealed many secrets of the universe to the world. He was respected a lot even then. Then why were his fingers taken out after his death? Let us know what was that reason.
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Made his own telescope and made astronomical discoveries
Galileo was greatly helped in understanding space by the telescope he built. With the help of a telescope, he became the first person to make the first astronomical discovery. They found that the Moon is not smooth, but hilly and cratered – just like the Earth. He later used his new telescope to discover four moons orbiting Jupiter, study Saturn, observe the phases of Venus, and study sunspots on the Sun.
Galileo’s discovery further strengthened Copernicus’ theory that the Earth and all the other planets revolve around the Sun. This was completely contrary to the thinking of that time. In Galileo’s time most people believed that the Earth was the center of the universe and that the Sun and the planets revolved around it.
Catholic Church made allegations
At that time, according to the Church and scriptures, the concept was prevalent that the Sun revolves around the Earth. But Galileo’s statements were different from those of the Church. Due to this, the Inquisition (the legal body of the Catholic Church) called Galileo to Rome to answer the charges against him. The Catholic Church was very powerful and influential at that time.
As early as 1616, Galileo was accused of being a heretic. Heresy was a crime for which people were sometimes even given the death penalty. Although Galileo was acquitted of heresy, he was told not to publicly say that the Earth was not the center of the universe.
again gave a controversial statement
Even after escaping the charges, Galileo continued his study of astronomy, which led him to become more convinced that all the planets revolved around the Sun. In 1632, he published a book. In this he said that Copernicus’s theory is correct, which says that the Sun is at the center instead of the Earth. Galileo was once again brought before the Inquisition and this time he was found guilty of heresy. His book was banned.
Galileo’s raised middle finger, on display in Florence https://t.co/tf1sEFE1qp pic.twitter.com/tZPVRypYUE
— Steven Strogatz (@stevenstrogatz) November 17, 2019
In 1633, Galileo was sentenced to life imprisonment. Due to his age and poor health, he was allowed to serve his imprisonment under home arrest. Galileo died while in prison on January 8, 1642.
Why were Galileo’s fingers cut off?
Galileo was considered a heretic, so he was buried without any official ceremony in a hidden chapel of the Church of Santa Croce in Florence. 100 years after his death, in the year 1737, a mausoleum of Galileo was built in the same church of Santa Croce and his remains were kept there. During the transfer, some people took out three of his fingers and his teeth.
Experts say that removing organs from the bodies of Catholic saints used to be a common practice. It was believed that these organs had sacred powers. Those who removed Galileo’s fingers considered him a saint. The same fingers of Galileo were removed with which he used to hold the pen.
Today these three fingers are kept in a museum in Florence, Italy. The museum says the finger ‘exemplifies the celebration of Galileo as a hero and martyr of science.’
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