The Final Trial
The Final Trial
The following years saw Galileo move on to work on other projects. With his telescope he watched the movements of Jupiters moons, wrote them up as a list, and then came up with a way to use these measurements as a navigation tool. There was even a contraption that would allow a ship captain to navigate with his hands on the wheel. That is, assuming the captain didnt mind wearing what looked like a horned helmet.As another amusement, Galileo started writing about ocean tides. Instead of writing his arguments as a scientific paper, he found that it was much more interesting to have an imaginary conversation, or dialogue, between three fictional characters. One character, who would support Galileos side of the argument, was brilliant. Another character would be open to either side of the argument. The final character, named Simplicio, was dogmatic and foolish, representing all of Galileos enemies who ignored any evidence that Galileo was right. Soon, he wrote up a similar dialogue called Dialogue on the Two Great Systems of the World. This book talked about the Copernican system.
Dialogue was an immediate hit with the public, but not, of course, with the Church. The pope suspected that he was the model for Simplicio. He ordered the book banned, and also ordered the scientist to appear before the Inquisition in Rome for the crime of teaching the Copernican theory after being ordered not to do so.Galileo Galilei was 68 years old and sick. Threatened with torture, he publicly confessed that he had been wrong to have said that the Earth moves around the Sun. Legend then has it that after his confession, Galileo quietly whispered And yet, it moves.Unlike many less famous prisoners, he was allowed to live under house arrest in his house outside of Florence. He was near one of his daughters, a nun. Until his death in 1642, he continued to investigate other areas of science. Amazingly, he even published a book on force and motion although he had been blinded by an eye infection.