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Galileo Galilei Posters, Books, Videos, Links for Learning
for science & social studies classrooms, homeschoolers, theme decor.

science > astronomers > GALILEO GALILEI 1 | 2 < notable men < social studies

Portrait of Galileo Galilei 1636, Giclee Print
Portrait of Galileo Galilei 1636

Galileo Galilei, an Italian Renaissance man, was a mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, philosopher, and physicist whose quantitative experiment based work places him at the beginning of the scientific revolution. Galileo is often referred to as “the father” of modern astronomy, modern physics, and science, with his break from Aristotle's abstract approach to phenomenon.

Galileo produced the first systematic studies of uniformly accelerated motion, improved the telescope, made astronomical observations, and supported the Copernican idea of heliocentrism (Helios = “Sun” and kentron = “Center”. Galileo was put through considerable trouble for this theory that we know today to be unsupported - the Sun is not the center of the Universe.

The Catholic Church supported Ptolemy's geocentric view in which the Earth was the center of the universe and all celestial bodies orbited it. Because Galileo did not obey a papel decree not to “hold or defend” heliocentrism, he was threatened with excommunication and stood trial on suspicion of heresy in 1633. He was required to recant, put under house arrest, and forbidden to publish his ideas. By the mid 1700s the Church had recanted and authorized the publication of Galileo's work. In 1992, Pope John Paul II expressed “regret for how the Galileo affair was handled”.


Galileo Galilei- Heroes of Science & Technology Poster
Galileo Galilei- Heroes of Science & Technology Poster

Galileo Galilei
”The laws of Nature are written in the language of mathematics...the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word.” -Galileo Galilei - Quoted in M. Kline, Mathematical Thought from Ancient to Modern Times

• more Heroes of Science & Technology posters

Portrait of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) Astronomer & Physicist (Drawing) Fine Art Print
Portrait of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) Astronomer & Physicist (Drawing) Fine Art Print

Portrait of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) Astronomer & Physicist (Drawing)

Terracotta figure of Galileo (1564-1642) by Andre Boni, 17th century Art Print
Terracotta figure of Galileo (1564-1642) by Andre Boni, 17th century Art Print

Terracotta figure of Galileo (1564-1642) by Andre Boni, 17th century

Trial of Galileo, 1633 Fine Art Print
Trial of Galileo, 1633
Art Print

Trial of Galileo, 1633

"Wine is Sunlight Held Together by Water" - Galileo Art Print

“Wine is Sunlight Held Together by Water” -

beverages posters

Leaning Tower of Pisa and Cathedral, Italy, Photographic Print
Leaning Tower
of Pisa and Cathedral, Italy,
Photographic Print

It was Galileo's secretary who reported that the famous scientist tested his theory of falling objects by dropping two balls of the same material, but of differnt masses, from the campanile, or free standing bell tower of the Cathedral of Pisa, to demonstrate that the time of descent was independent of mass.

Jupiter's Satellites Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto as Depicted by Voyager 1 Spacecraft, Photographic Print
Jupiter's Satellites Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto as Depicted by Voyager 1 Spacecraft,
Photographic Print

Jupiter's four largest moons were discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1609-10, using a telescope. The Galilean moons names are derived from the Greek names for the lovers of Zeus.

Photo of Planet Venus Taken by Galileo Spacecraft, Print
Photo of Planet Venus Taken by Galileo Spacecraft,

Galileo Spacecraft

astronomy posters
moon posters

Telescope, Inventions That Changed the World, poster
The Telescope, Inventions that Changed the World, Poster


In its simplest form, a telescope is nothing more than a hollow tube with a piece of glass at each end. And yet this simple instrument has completely changed the way we think about the universe – and our place in it. The invention of the telescope is still something of a mystery. No one knows for sure who built the first telescope. But most experts give the credit to a Dutch optician named Hans Lippershey, to patented a device he called an "eye glass" in 1608.

The first telescope was not very powerful, but it inspired many people throughout Europe to begin building their own telescopes. One of these people was an Italian scientist named Galileo Galilei, shown here, in 1610. Galileo built a telescope that magnified images 30 times. Galileo's telescope, like most early telescopes, was of the type known as a "refractor." Refracting telescopes consist of a tube or tubes with a front lens to collect and focus the light and a rear eyepiece lens to view the image. In the mid-1600s, scientists began experimenting with "reflecting" telescopes. Reflectors use a large mirror to gather and focus the light through an eyepiece. The telescope shown here is a reflector built by Isaac Newton around 1670.

Galileo FS-80 Reflector Telescope

The invention of the telescope completely altered mankind's view of the universe. With the telescope, scientists could see that other planets existed. They could see that the sun was only one of billions of stars in the galaxy, and that the universe was filled iwth other galaxies. These discoveries helped people realize that Earth is NOT the center of the universe, and they raised the possibility that life might exist elsewhere. In a way, the invention of the telescope marked the beginning of human exploration of space. From the moment Galileo first aimed his telescope at the night sky, humans have longed to visit other worlds. And this longing continues to pull us toward the stars.

• more Inventions that Changed the World posters

• more Galileo posters, pg 2

“You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him to find it for himself.” Galileo Galilei
b. 2-15-1564; Pisa, Italy
d. 1-8-1642; Arcetri, Italy


Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems by Galileo Galilei - published in Florence in 1632 ... the most proximate cause of his being brought to trial before the Inquisition. Using the dialogue form, a genre common in classical philosophical works, Galileo masterfully demonstrates the truth of the Copernican system over the Ptolemaic one, proving, for the first time, that the earth revolves around the sun. Its influence is incalculable. The Dialogue is not only one of the most important scientific treatises ever written, but a work of supreme clarity and accessibility, remaining as readable now as when it was first published. This edition uses the definitive text established by the University of California Press, in Stillman Drake’s translation, and includes a Foreword by Albert Einstein and a new introduction by J. L. Heilbron.

Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo (1610 Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina) - Galileo introduced the world to the two most significant aspects of modern science – its method of inquiry and its criterion of truth – for he was the first major figure to champion the right of the scientist to pursue his research through observation and experiment, uninfluence by such nonscientific considerations as politics and theology. Directing his polemics against the pedantry of his time, Galileo, as his own popularizer, addressed his writings to contemporary laymen. His support of Copernican cosmology against the Church's strong opposition, his development of a telescope and observation of such phenomena as comets and sunspots, his unorthodox opinions as a philosopher of science – these were the central concerns of his career and the subjects of four of his most important writings.

Galileo in Rome: The Rise and Fall of a Troublesome Genius
by William R. Shea
- Galileo's trial by the Inquisition is one of the most dramatic incidents in the history of science and religion. Today, we tend to see this event in black and white--Galileo all white, the Church all black. Galileo in Rome presents a much more nuanced account of Galileo's relationship with Rome. The book offers a fascinating account of the six trips Galileo made to Rome, from his first visit at age 23, as an unemployed mathematician, to his final fateful journey to face the Inquisition. The authors reveal why the theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun, set forth in Galileo's Dialogue, stirred a hornet's nest of theological issues, and they argue that, despite these issues, the Church might have accepted Copernicus if there had been solid proof. More interesting, they show how Galileo dug his own grave. To get the imprimatur, he brought political pressure to bear on the Roman Censor. He disobeyed a Church order not to teach the heliocentric theory. And he had a character named Simplicio (which in Italian sounds like simpleton) raise the same objections to heliocentrism that the Pope had raised with Galileo. The authors show that throughout the trial, until the final sentence and abjuration, the Church treated Galileo with great deference, and once he was declared guilty commuted his sentence to house arrest. Here then is a unique look at the life of Galileo as well as a strikingly different view of an event that has come to epitomize the Church's supposed antagonism toward science.

Galileo by Bertolt Brecht - Considered by many to be one of Brecht's masterpieces, Galileo, explores the question of a scientist's social and ethical responsibility, as the brilliant Galileo must choose between his life and his life's work when confronted with the demands of the Inquisition. Through the dramatic characterization of the famous physicist, Brecht examines the issues of scientific morality and the difficult relationship beween the intellectual and authority. (back cover).

Galileo's Daughter: A Historical memoir of Science, Faith, and Love - Galileo Galilei's telescopes allowed him to discover a new reality in the heavens. But for publicly declaring his astounding argument – that the earth revolves around the sun – he was accused of heresy and put under house arrest by the Holy Office of the Inquisition. Living a far different life, Galileo's daughter Virginia, a cloistered nun, proved to be her father's greatest source of strength through the difficult years of his trial and persecution.
Drawing upon the remarkable surviving letters that Virginia wrote to her father, Dava Sobel has written a fascinating history of Medici-era Italy, a mesmerizing account of Galileo's scientific discoveries and his trial by Church authorities, and a touching portrayal of a father-daughter relationship. Galileo's Daughter is a profoundly moving portrait of the man who forever changed the way we see the universe.
(Product Description)

Along Came Galileo - insightful and delightful look into the life of a courageous man of faith and science. It was Galileo’s questioning mind and insatiable curiousity which drove him to monumental breakthroughs in astronomy, physics, and mechanics. His many discoveries and inventions challenged and eventually changed ‘the acceptabled way of thinking’ in these fields of thought. Learn all about this remarkable figure in this title packed with many of the author’s original illustrations. Young Adult (Product Description)

Galileo: On the Shoulders of Giants (2000) DVD - from The Inventors' Specials, a series that invites youngsters to think about great inventors (including Edison and Einstein), focuses on the man who brought the wonder of science into the Dark Ages. Michael Moriarty gives vigor to his role as the scientist who is forced to take on a young apprentice. First bored with his new surroundings, the youngster develops a keen interest in Galileo's inventions, including his latest, the telescope. The hour-long video, which played on HBO and won two daytime Emmys, doesn't pull any punches by explaining what happened to heretics who, like Galileo, preached the Earth wasn't the center of the universe. Ages 7 and up. (Product Description)

Galileo's Battle for the Heavens, NOVA (VHS) 2002 - adapted from “Galileo's Daughter”.


  • Galileo & Einstein - from Michael Fowler, the course explores two revolutions in our perception of the universe. Also links to more physics and teaching.

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last updated 12/5/13