CORE 106S - Saving the Appearances: Galileo, the Church, and the Scientific Endeavor
Four hundred years ago, Galileo Galilei turned his modest telescope skyward. The universe he discovered was a stark contrast to the universe described by the ancient Greek philosophers whose cosmology had held sway for over a millennium. Some 60 years after the publication of Copernicus’ treatise “On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres,” Galileo used his newfound insight into the nature of the heavens to support the heliocentric model of the universe. In so doing, Galileo challenged not only the authority of Aristotelian cosmology, but also the religious tradition and interpretation of the scripture by the Holy Fathers of the Catholic Church. This episode in the history of western science and the development of the Church is often cited as one of the original clashes between modern science and religious traditions. The discoveries, writings, and trial of Galileo Galilei will serve as both a focus and backdrop for students to explore the practical development of scientific thought and the near simultaneous invention and re-invention of the Church. In addition to readings, written responses, and classroom discussions, the course requires students to repeat many of the ground-breaking observations Galileo made using a hand-held refracting telescope similar in size and shape to the one he built.
Major/Minor Restrictions: None
Class Restriction: No Junior, Senior
Area of Inquiry: None
Liberal Arts CORE: Scientific Perspectives
Click here for Course Offerings by term