July Highlight-Posner Center - Carnegie Mellon University

July Highlight - Faculty Choice

Galileo image Champions Copernican System

Galileo Galilei, 1564-1642. Dialogo di Galileo Galilei Linceo matematico sopraordinario dello stvdio di Pisa. Florence, Landini, 1632.

Galileo Galilei’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems compares the Copernican system with the traditional Ptolemaic system.

In September 1610, using his 3x refracting telescope (later improved to 30x), Galileo observed that Venus exhibited a full set of phases similar to that of the Moon. Copernicus’ heliocentric model of the solar system predicted this. In 1615, the Inquisition concluded that heliocentrism was false and contrary to scripture, placing works advocating the Copernican system on the index of banned books and forbidding Galileo from advocating it. In 1632, hoping that the religiopolitical climate was finally favorable, Galileo published Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems with formal authorization from the Inquisition and papal permission. It was a bestseller; yet the situation was still fraught, and it was suppressed by the Inquisition in 1633.

The Posner copy was purchased in 1954 from H.P Kraus who noted that the previous owner was Baron Horace de Landau, 1824-1903, of Florence, Italy.  

Selected by William Alba, Director, Science and Humanities Scholars Program

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