And yet it moves
"And yet it moves" (Italian: Eppur si muove; [epˈpur si ˈmwɔːve]) is a phrase said to have been uttered before the Inquisition by the Italian mathematician, physicist and philosopher Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) in 1633 after being forced to recant that the earth moves around the sun. In this context, the implication of the phrase is: despite this recantation, the Church's proclamations to the contrary, or any other conviction or doctrine of men, the Earth does, in fact, move around the sun, and not vice versa. As such, the phrase is used today as a sort of pithy retort implying that "it doesn't matter what you believe; these are the facts".
Some historians believe this episode might have happened instead upon his transfer from house arrest under the watch of Archbishop Ascanio Piccolomini to that of someone less favorable towards his views, near Florence.
There is no actual contemporary evidence that Galileo uttered this expression at his trial; it would certainly have been highly dangerous and imprudent for him to have done so. The earliest biography of Galileo, written by his disciple Vincenzo Viviani in 1655–1656, does not mention this phrase.
The moment he was set at liberty, he looked up to the sky and down to the ground, and, stamping with his foot, in a contemplative mood, said, Eppur si muove, that is, still it moves, meaning the earth.:52
The book was written 124 years after the supposed utterance and became widely published in Querelles Littéraires (1761).
In 1911, the line was found on a Spanish painting owned by a Belgian family. This painting was produced within a year or two after Galileo died as it is dated 1643 or 1645 (the last number is partially obscured). The painting is obviously not historically correct, because it depicts Galileo in a dungeon, but nonetheless shows that some variant of the "Eppur si muove" legend was in circulation immediately after his death when many who had known him were still alive to attest to it, and that it had been circulating for over a century before it was published.
- Hawking, Stephen (2003). On the Shoulders of Giants: The Great Works of Physics and Astronomy. Running Press. pp. 396–7. ISBN 9780762416981.
- Simons, Jay. "Did Galileo Really Say: “And Yet It Moves”?", Retrieved on 1 January 2014.
- Drake, Stillman (2003). Galileo at Work: His Scientific Biography (Facsim. ed.). Mineola (N.Y.): Dover Publications Inc. ISBN 0486495426.
- Baretti, Giuseppe (1757). The Italian Library. Containing An Account of the Lives and Works of the Most Valuable Authors of Italy. With a Preface, Exhibiting The Changes of the Tuscan Language, from the barbarous Ages to the present Time.. London: Printed for A. Millar, in the Strand. p. 52. "Text preceded by: "This is the celebrated Galileo, who was in the inquistion for six years, and put to the torture, for saying, that the earth moved.""
- A. Rupert Hall, "Galileo nel XVIII secolo," Rivista di filosofia, 15 (Turin, 1979), pp. 375–78, 83.