Talk:Galileo Galilei

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Former featured article Galileo Galilei is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Good article Galileo Galilei has been listed as one of the Natural sciences good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on July 24, 2004.
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Date Process Result
November 4, 2003 Featured article candidate Promoted
September 12, 2007 Featured article review Demoted
February 28, 2008 Good article nominee Listed
Current status: Former featured article, current good article
Wikipedia Version 1.0 Editorial Team / v0.5 / Vital (Rated GA-class, High-importance)
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Perhaps this has been covered in higher level discussions, but Italy did not exist in Galileo's time. Galileo was Tuscan. I noticed that Socrates's nationality is listed as Greek, not Athenian. Roger Williams has no nationality, but I would propose Rhode Islander. My suggestion e.g. Nationality: Tuscan (Italian) This is an encyclopedia, details are important. Bookscrounger (talk) 16:12, 10 December 2015 (UTC)

The legal status of various parts of Italy has been well known to everyone for centuries. Galileo's nationality has been discussed endlessly. Only make remarks here if they are new and of some substance. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:23, 11 December 2015 (UTC)

and introduce the idea of frictional force, the key breakthrough in validating the concept[edit]

Does G indeed do this? I can't see any evidence he does William M. Connolley (talk) 21:23, 19 December 2015 (UTC)

Where does this come from? I can't find anything like it in the article. I'm certainly sceptical that Galileo could reasonably be described as having introduced "the idea of a frictional force", regardless of what the concept of which it is supposed to be the "breakthrough in validating".
David Wilson (talk · cont) 09:14, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
Oh, sorry, its not there any more; I should have said I took it out [1] William M. Connolley (talk) 10:17, 20 December 2015 (UTC)

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Newton In the Timeline[edit]

At the end of the timeline , it refers to Isaac Newton as 'Newton' , mentioning his full name after. It isn't technically 'incorrect' , but it would be more sensible to have it say 'Isaac Newton' before it abbreviates . — Preceding unsigned comment added by ToxicReap (talkcontribs) 19:15, 11 May 2016 (UTC)

Seems reasonable; done. I'm not entirely sure N fits on G's timeline, though it isn't unreasonable William M. Connolley (talk) 19:40, 11 May 2016 (UTC)

Protestantism and heliocentrism[edit]

Recent edits modified the section describing the heliocentrism controversy, making it appear as though the Catholic world had generally adopted heliocentrism, whereas the Protestants stubbornly opposed it.

While the edits are correct that Protestant leaders would vociferously oppose heliocentrism, they were unsourced. Furthermore they created the very false impression that, because the Gregorian calendar was modified using Copernicus' calculations, the Catholic world and leadership had embraced heliocentrism. No source was provided to support this assertion and I have never seen it printed anywhere before it was written here. While Copernicus' calculations were indeed useful, when Catholic authorities finally considered the matter in detail, they unequivocally condemned heliocentrism as heretical and banned heliocentric works.

I am not opposed to a description of Protestant opposition if sources are cited. Obviously this is somewhat less relevant to Galileo, given his Tuscan residence, but some mention is appropriate in this article. -Darouet (talk) 18:10, 18 May 2016 (UTC)

Heliocentrism "formally heretical"[edit]

Amazingly, the lead's description of the Galileo affair until now stated that, "The matter was investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, which concluded that heliocentrism could be supported only as a hypothesis, not as established fact." This is a deeply disingenuous description of the Inquisition's judgment that Heliocentrism is "foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture." There is no relationship between the former summary and the actual text it was meant to summarize. I've inserted the brief quote directly, since it is readily comprehensible and uses colorful language that readers will undoubtedly appreciate.

Here is how J.L. Heilbron describes the finding:

The eleven theologians empanelled by the Holy Office to evaluate Copernican theory returned their unanimous verdict on 24 February 1616 after five days of deliberation. They judged the assertion that "the sun is the center of the world and completely devoid of local motion" to be "formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture, according to the literal meaning of the words and according to the common interpretation and understanding of the Holy Fathers and the doctors of theology." The proposition of the earth's motion qualified for the lesser censure of "at least erroneous in faith." Moreover, the propositions failed, this time equally, to conform to the world system to which the theologians had yoked their doctrine. "[They are] false and absurd in philosophy." There was no room in this formidable interdiscipline for a salutary opposition between science and religion. The consultors had no reason to ponder the accommodationist argument: in their view, the findings of philosophy concurred perfectly with the results of traditional exegesis. The cardinals of the Holy Office accepted the advice of their consultors. The pope thereupon ordered Bellarmine to warn Galileo to abandon his opinions; if he should not accede to this friendly warning, Bellarmine was to issue a formal "precept" or injunction again him "to abstain completely from teaching or defending his doctrine and opinion or from discussing it." If he did not acquiesce to the injunction, he would go to jail. The following day, 26 February 1616, Galileo appeared before Bellarmine and Seghizzi. To the confusion of subsequent history, the unsigned minute descibing the interview does not agree with the papal order. Bellarmine duly warned Galileo that the "abovementioned opinion" conflicted with scripture and advised him to abandon it. Then, before Galileo could express his voluntary acquiescence, Seghizzi proceeded, succesive et incontinenti, to the second step and, before Bellarmine and other witnesses, "ordered and enjoined the said Galileo... to abandon completely... the opinion that the sun stands still at the center of the world and the earth moves, and henceforth not to hold, teach, or defend it in any way whatever, either orally or in writing." Galileo accepted the injunction and agreed to obey it.

Galileo, by JL Heilbron, Oxford U. Press, 2012, pp.217-8

I cited Finocchiaro in the lead, but historians all describe this same sequence of events. Some basic respect for neutrality and original research policies of WP:POV and WP:OR, and for the complexity of historical events, requires that we honestly present what occurred. -Darouet (talk) 15:50, 21 May 2016 (UTC)

Misplaced paragraph?[edit]

The second paragraph in the Sunspots section (under Astronomy) feels misplaced. Is that the case, or does it just need some grammatical reworking? Alex33212 (talk) 19:48, 25 May 2016 (UTC)

Plant diseases[edit]

9 Plant diseases Galileo suggests in his 12th Problema a new approach to explain the damages caused to plants exposed to weather. He applied the guidelines he had defined to the study of local motion change: namely, the establishment of a geometrical model representing the facts observed. Since Antiquity, the damage observed on vegetation had been essentially understood in terms of Theophrastus’ explanation of erusibe, and, but to a lesser extent, of Pliny the Elder’s rubigo, both according to the theory of decomposition from Aristotle. Galileo opts for the burning sphere model studied throughout the history of optics. Galileo’s text written about 1638, but only published in 1718, is the first of a series of texts, all through the 18 th century, approaching the explanation of diseases inspired from optics; texts which are inspired by Galileo’s 12th Problem or which suggest another similar one, such as Stephen Hales’ and Pierre-Daniel Huet’s works, or which oppose it but with optic arguments, such as Michel Adanson’s or Felice Fontana’s works. When Galileo conceives his models, his natural philosophy has come to maturity and the Aristotelian approach is strongly challenged in relation to the study of local motion. But the other changes, in particular those concerning living things, remain broadly studied according to Aristotelian principles. When Galileo 12th Problema is posthumously published, aristotelianism is declining both for chemistry and the study of living things. This is after the emergence of Cartesian mechanism and the use of chemistry is developing for studying living things. The optics approach for the plant disease model ends by being marginalized, being too simple to explain the complex relationships between plants and climatic circumstances. Gilles Denis, The optical Galilean interpretation of the antique Theophrastian model for plant diseases, Galilaeana, 2011, Journal of Gagliean Studies, VIII, pp.159-182.;jsessionid=32EC32A39A937963E1C802E19DF2C5C9?an=917416_8 Gilles DENIS — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gilles DENIS (talkcontribs) 17:02, 11 June 2016 (UTC)

This seems to me to give an exaggerated impression of the scope of Galileo's solution to the indicated problem, which was limited to explaining the damage apparently sometimes caused to plant leaves when the Sun comes out after a fog. I have given a translation below of the statement and solution of the problem as it appears on pp.606–7 of volume 8 of the National Edition of Galileo's collected works.
It's also not clear to me why this has been posted here. Is it being suggested that something about this should be included in the article? If so, then my immediate reaction is that it's not sufficiently significant to warrant a mention.
Twelfth Problem

How it happens that sometimes when the Sun appears after a fog, the leaves of vines and other plants become dry and wilt.

The cause of this effect is the following. On the leaves of vines (as long as the fog persists) a very large quantity of the aforementioned1 droplets, which are round in shape, and most perfectly spherical, come to rest; then the fog disperses and the Sun appears, the rays of which, passing through these very small spherules, are refracted and fall on the leaf which lies under those spherules: so that, in the way that these same rays, on passing through a ball of crystal, or a globe full of water, and striking some kindling, or linen, or something similar, heats and ignites them, so also by passing through those little globules, they will come to heat the leaf so much, that they will burn it and dry it out. But it must be noted that this doesn't always occur: because if the fog persists for a long time, so many of these minute drops would come to be collected on the leaves that they would pile up on each other, get all blended together, and finally, on losing absolutely their spherical shape, they would become flattened out, as a result of which nothing but a thin film of water would appear on the leaf; and in this case the Sun won't produce the effect that it does whenever those drops remain there whole and intact.

1 That is, aforementioned in the resolution of the immediately preceding eleventh problem.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 09:29, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
The comment might have no purpose. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2ggg0 (talkcontribs) 13:09, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
Galileo's remarks about plants do not have any appearance of favouring atheism or the like. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2ggg0 (talkcontribs) 13:13, 25 August 2016 (UTC)


This section is confusing. First, sunspots can occasionally be seen by naked eye, so primacy for their discovery is confusing. I am not familiar, however, with what Galileo and others might have claimed for their own observations. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 23:13, 23 October 2016 (UTC) Also, note that primary motions of sunspots are not "annual", but rather emergence and dissipation (over the weeks), solar rotation (about a month), and differential rotation (depends on latitude); not to mention 11-year waxing and waning in number. I'm not convinced that the early astronomers, like Galileo, directly perceived any (faint) annual variational effect, at least not since they claim to have just discovered sunspots. Certainly the other effects would have been more obvious and, therefore, worthy of mentioning in this article before "annual variation". I'm happy to be corrected on this, but that is my understanding of the matter. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 13:59, 24 October 2016 (UTC)

The apparent annual variation in the trajectories of sunspots is well-explained in the some of the references cited (Linton's, From Eudoxus to Einstein, p.211–212, for instance). Quite often a sunspot will last long enough for its trajectory across the whole of the Sun's disc to be observed. Around early December this trajectory is approximately a straight line sloping upwards from east to west at an angle of about 7.5° to the plane of the ecliptic, as depicted in the first diagram at the top of p.211 in Linton's book. Three months later, around the beginning of March, the trajectory is an upwardly bending arc, with its highest point near the middle of the Sun's disc and the line joining its end points approximately parallel to the plane of the ecliptic, as in Linton's second diagram. Three months later again, around the beginning of June, the trajectory is again an approximately straight line, now sloping downwards from east to west at an angle of about 7.5°, as in Linton's third diagram. Finally, at around the beginning of September, the trajectory is a downwardly bending arc with its lowest point near the middle of the Sun's disc, and the line joining its end points again approximately parallel to the plane of the ecliptic, as in Linton's fourth diagram.
Galileo's explanation of this was that if the axis of the Sun's approximately monthly rotation—which he had already known about long before he had heard of this annual variation—was inclined to the ecliptic, and the Earth revolved around the Sun, as proposed by Copernicus, then the trajectories of the sunspots would display exactly the apparent annual variation that had been observed. In the original hard-cover edition of Stillman Drake's translation of Galileo's Dialogue the explanation occupies pp.346–55. In Favaro's monumental National Edition of Galilei's works it's on pages 374–382 of volume 7. All of this is well-known to Galileo scholars, and some account of it will be found in any decent biography of him.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 17:04, 24 October 2016 (UTC)
Thank you, David, this is very helpful and informative (to me). I will fix the article in a bit, mostly reverting some changes I made. Again, thank you. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 17:19, 24 October 2016 (UTC)
Oh, I see you already fixed it. I remain a bit unhappy with notions that any of these astronomers "discovered" sunspots, however. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 17:21, 24 October 2016 (UTC)


The Name section does not offer any discussion or explanation of why the subject is universally known by his given name rather than his surname. For all the type spilled over his scientific work, great, but bets are that a enormous number of users come to the page with that question, specifically. Venqax (talk) 16:21, 29 October 2016 (UTC)

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