"The universe is written in the language of mathematics."

Galileo Galilei

1592Galileo Galilei, professor of mathematics at the University of Pisa, drops two spheres of different masses from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to demonstrate that their time of descent is independent of their mass.

This disproves the theory of gravity according to Aristotle which states objects fall at speed proportional to their mass.


Galileo Galilei comes to the attention of the Inquisition for the first time for his Copernican views.


Dominican friar, Niccolo Lorini, who had earlier criticized Galileo's view in private conversations, files a written complaint with the Inquisition against Galileo's Copernican views.

Galileo subsequently writes a long letter defending his views to Monsignor Piero Dini, a well connected official in the Vatican, he then writes his Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina arguing for freedom of inquiry and travels to Rome to defend his ideas


A committee of consultants declares to the Inquisition that the propositions that the Sun is the center of the universe and that the Earth has an annual motion are absurd in philosophy, at least erroneous in theology, and formally a heresy.

On orders of the Pope Paul V, Cardinal Bellarmine calls Galileo to his residence and administers a warning not to hold or defend the Copernican theory.

Galileo is forbidden to discuss Copernican theory orally or in writing.


Galileo meets repeatedly with his (at that time) friend and patron Pope Urban VIII, he is allowed to write about the Copernican theory as long as he treated it as a mathematical hypothesis.


A complaint against Galileo's publication The Assayer is lodged at the Inquisition by a person unknown.

The complaint charges atomistic theory embraced in this book cannot be reconciled with official church doctrine regarding the Eucharist, in which bread and wine are "transubstantiated'' into Christ's flesh and blood.

After the Inquisition investigation Galileo is exonerated.


Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, in which the Ptolemaic and Copernican models are discussed and compared, is cleared (conditionally) to be published by the Vatican.


Pope Urban VIII, convinced by the arguments of various Church officials, stops the distribution of Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems.

The case is referred to the Inquisition and Galileo is summoned to Rome despite his infirmities.


Galileo is ordered to stand trial on suspicion of heresy, "for holding as true the false doctrine taught by some that the sun is the center of reality".

Galileo is interrogated and threatened with physical torture.

June 22, 1633

Galileo is found guilty of heresy, and the sentence of the Inquisition is in three parts:

1) Galileo is found "vehemently suspect of heresy," namely of having held the opinions that the Sun lies motionless at the center of the universe, that the Earth is not at its centre and moves, and that one may hold and defend an opinion as probable after it has been declared contrary to Holy Scripture.

He was required to "abjure, curse, and detest" those opinions.

2) He is sentenced to formal imprisonment at the pleasure of the Inquisition.

On the following day this is commuted to house arrest, in which he remains under for the rest of his life.

3) His offending Dialogue is banned; and in an action not announced at the trial, publication of any of his works is forbidden, including any he might write in the future.

Galileo's work advocating Copernicanism remains on the Index of banned books until 1758.

His sentence prohibited him from "teaching, defending or discussing" Copernicanism.

In Germany, the works of Johannes Kepler are also banned by papal order.

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