Galileo was an Italian astronomer and physicist, born on the 15th February 1564 and died on the 8th January 1642. He was also a noted engineer and considered one of the few great polymaths in history. He has frequently been labelled the father of modern physics and observational astronomy.
Galileo’s work in physics and applied science, led to him inventing new types of compass and the process of using a telescope to observe the wider solar system, including recording new information on Jupiter’s satellites and Saturn’s Rings.
Sadly, it was Galileo’s belief in the idea of heliocentrism and copernicanism that caused such trouble with most other scientists and the church, leading to him spending a large part of his later life under house arrest. Having published various papers on the subject, the church inquisition declared him as a potential heretic. It was during his house arrest that he produced Two New Sciences, a summary of his four decades worth of work.
A truly inspirational scientist and astronomer whose theories and observations have changed science forever and his quotations are no less powerful.
1. I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn’t learn something from him.
2. I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
3. You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.
4. In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.
5. All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.
6. Passion is the genesis of genius.
7. The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.
8. It is a beautiful and delightful sight to behold the body of the Moon.
9. Wine is sunlight, held together by water.
10. There are those who reason well, but they are greatly outnumbered by those who reason badly.
11. Long experience has taught me this about the status of mankind with regard to matters requiring thought: the less people know and understand about them, the more positively they attempt to argue concerning them, while on the other hand to know and understand a multitude of things renders men cautious in passing judgment upon anything new.
12. Measure what can be measured, and make measurable what cannot be measured.
13. My dear Kepler, what would you say of the learned here, who, replete with the pertinacity of the asp, have steadfastly refused to cast a glance through the telescope? What shall we make of this? Shall we laugh, or shall we cry?
14. Mathematics is the language in which God has written the universe
15. With regard to matters requiring thought: the less people know and understand about them, the more positively they attempt to argue concerning them.
16. By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox.
17. Names and attributes must be accommodated to the essence of things, and not the essence to the names, since things come first and names afterwards.
18. It is surely harmful to souls to make it a heresy to believe what is proved.
19. See now the power of truth; the same experiment which at first glance seemed to show one thing, when more carefully examined, assures us of the contrary.
20. In the sciences, the authority of thousands of opinions is not worth as much as one tiny spark of reason in an individual man.
21. They seemed to forget that the increase of known truths stimulates the investigation, establishment and growth of the arts; not their dimination or destruction.
22. In time you may discover everything that can be discovered, and still your progress will only be progress away from humanity. The distance between you and them can one day become so great that your joyous cry over some new gain could be answered by an universal shriek of horror.
23. I have been in my bed for five weeks, oppressed with weakness and other infirmities from which my age, seventy four years, permits me not to hope release. Added to this (proh dolor! [O misery!]) the sight of my right eye — that eye whose labors (dare I say it) have had such glorious results — is for ever lost. That of the left, which was and is imperfect, is rendered null by continual weeping.
24. We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.
25. The sun, with all the planets revolving around it, and depending on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as though it had nothing else in the universe to do.
26. The Bible shows the way to go to heaven, not the way the heavens go.
27. Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so
28. Who indeed will set bounds to human ingenuity? Who will assert that everything in the universe capable of being perceived is already discovered and known?
29. I think that in the discussion of natural problems we ought to begin not with the Scriptures, but with experiments and demonstrations.
30. And, believe me, if I were again beginning my studies, I should follow the advice of Plato and start with mathematics.
31. To our natural and human reason, I say that these terms ‘large,’ ‘small,’ ‘immense,’ ‘minute,’ etc. are not absolute but relative; the same thing in comparison with various others may be called at one time ‘immense’ and at another ‘imperceptible.
32. In the future, there will be opened a gateway and a road to a large and excellent science into which minds more piercing than mine shall penetrate to recesses still deeper.
33. You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.
34. Man kann einen Menschen nichts lehren. Man kann ihm nur helfen, es in sich selbst zu finden!
35. Surely it is a great thing to increase the numerous host of fixed stars previously visible to the unaided vision, adding countless more which have never before been seen, exposing these plainly to the eye in numbers ten times exceeding the old and familiar stars.
36. The sun with all the planets around it, and depending on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as though it had nothing else in the Universe to do.
37. Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.
38. To me, a great ineptitude exists on the part of those who would have it that God made the universe more in proportion to the small capacity of their reason than to His immense, His infinite, power.
39. The greatness and the glory of God shine forth marvelously in all His works, and is to be read above all in the open book of the heavens.
40. If the Earth were not subject to any change I would consider the Earth a big but useless body in universe, paralyzed…superfluous and unnatural.Those who so exalt incorruptibility, unchangeability and the like, are, I think, reduced to saying such things both because of inordinate desire they have to live for a long time and because of the terror they have of death…they do not realize that if men were immortal, they would have never come into the world.
41. Where the senses fail us, reason must step in.
42. The fear of infinity is a form of myopia that destroys the possibility of seeing the actual infinite, even though it in its highest form has created and sustains us.
43. My dear Kepler, I wish that we might laugh at the stupidity of the human herd. What do you have to say about the principal philosophers of this academy who are filled with the stubbornness of an asp and do not want to look at either the planets, the moon or the telescope, even though I have freely and deliberately offered them the opportunity a thousand times? Truly, just as the asp stops its ears, so do these philosophers shut their eyes to the light of truth.
44. To apply oneself to great inventions, starting from the smallest beginnings, is no task for ordinary minds; to divine that wonderful arts lie hid behind trivial and childish things is a conception for superhuman talents.
45. You cannot teach a person anything, you can only help him find it within himself.
46. There is not a single effect in Nature, not even the least that exists, such that the most ingenious theorists can ever arrive at a complete understanding of it. This vain presumption of understanding everything can have no other basis than never understanding anything. For anyone who had experienced just once the perfect understanding of one single thing, and had truly tasted how knowledge is attained, would recognise that of the infinity of other truths he understands nothing.
47. Philosophy is written in this all-encompassing book that is constantly open to our eyes, that is the universe; but it cannot be understood unless one first learns to understand the language and knows the characters in which it is written. It is written in mathematical language, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometrical figures; without these it is humanly impossible to understand a word of it, and one wanders in a dark labyrinth.
48. All truths are easy to understand once you find them, the point is to discover them
49. I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them.
50. I entertain no doubts as to the truth of the transfinites, which I have recognized with God’s help.