Talk:Galileo Galilei

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Quotes that are bandied around from one book to another, without any indication of a true primary source, can be commmon. And if there is, in fact, any true source remains unestablished. For example, the following: "All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them." can be found in a large number of Google hits. But the source "As quoted in Angels in the workplace : stories and inspirations for creating a new world of work (1999) by Melissa Giovagnoli" does not make it a valid quote by Galileo. To me, any quote that begins something like "As Galileo once said" just means that author has been too lazy to verify it. This quote, and all those with similar uncited sources should be put under Unsourced until a respected biography is quoted that cites where it came from.

(Vital stats)[edit]

I know he was smart but surely he didn't steadily go back in time since he was born? Those birth dates (15 February 1564 - 8 January 1642) have to be wrong. He was over -20 years young when he died according to that. —This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .

I don't see what the problem is, there. Those dates put him at age 78 at the time of his death. —LrdChaos 05:10, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
Your both wrong, he was 77 years old at the time of his death, he hadn't reached his birthday yet that year. And if those dtes are wrong, then wouldn't he be -77, this isn't in the BC's, he's not that old. Its easy to see this if you just apply yourself to the problem. —This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) 01:43, April 26, 2007.

(Heaven & the heavens)[edit]

Regarding one of the quotes in the 'unsourced' section.

In the book I am currently reading (which isn't necessarily the authority on the subject of galileo) it states that when galileo said " The bible teaches us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go" he was quoting Cardinal Baronius.

I believe it should be removed, any feedback on that? Rachel Ayres 05:44, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

It should not be removed, because Galileo was quoting the Cardinal from what was believed to have been a private conversation between the two men. Cardinal Baronius is not believed to have said this publicly. It is of significance that Galileo used the quote in a letter to The Grand Duchess Christina in defense of himself.

True. Furthermore the quote, as referenced to the Fordham source was wrong. The variant (wrong though it is) is now a variant. The actual quote FROM THE CITATION 21st paragraph at the end, ( you would actually read it, says "Ghost" and "heaven goes". To Galileo heaven was a singular place, not plural. Heavens, the plural, is a more recent variation, not of Galileo's origin.

(Sorry about the bad english) - I've found strange that a sentence said by an italian man in the 17th century would make a pun (in some way) in english. When I started to look around i've found that this quote actually is translated as a joke in almost any language (I'm brazilian and speak some other languages, by the way), even in italian. That would make sense, when you think about it. The translation always try to keep the full intention of the original sentences. The sad thing, however, is that this is actually not what Galileo said in that letter. I'm not saying that Galileo did not have a sense of humor. Apparently he did - and the original phrase shows it. He wrote: "“La Bibbia ci insegna la via per andare in cielo, non come il cielo sia fatto". The problem of this quote is the word for "heaven", "cielo". In latin languages the word for "sky" can also mean "heaven" ("cielo" in spanish and italian, "céu" in portuguese, "ciel" in french and so on), despite the fact that each one of those also have a word for heaven (paradiso, paraíso, paradis). The pure translation for the quote

would be "The Bible teaches us the path to go to heaven, not how the sky is made.". That was obvioisly a rude provocation and is, in fact, funny on the original. It appears, however, that an italian historian changed the phrase some years ago - and it stood forever.


In case anyone feels obliged to add the quote "Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so", there is evidence that this quote was not actually his. See the journal paper "Der messende Luchs" by Andreas Kleinert; NTM Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin, Vol. 17, No. 2. (1 May 2009), pp. 199-206.


Regarding one of the quotes in the "unsourced" section:

"Surely, God could have caused birds to fly with their bones made of solid gold, with their veins full of quicksilver, with their flesh heavier than lead, and with their wings exceedingly small. He did not, and that ought to show something. It is only in order to shield your ignorance that you put the Lord at every turn to the refuge of a miracle." And this is then referenced to: Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems

I have tried to find this quotation in this source, or elsewhere in Galileo's writings, and I have, from time to time, inquired about it. But I haven't been able to find it. I wish that somebody quotable had said it, whether Galileo or somebody else. Please, can someone get a reliable citation for it? It is often repeated, so perhaps it should be retained with a cautionary statement. TomS TDotO 17:32, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

What may have been the source for many people's belief that Galileo said this has been located, Giorgio de Santillana's The Crime of Galileo, but we still don't have a good citation directly to Galileo for it. I've tried reading and searching through Galileo's Dialogue without success, and despite all due respect for de Santillana's scholarship, I have to conclude that he made a mistake in attributing it to Galileo's Dialogue - either some other work of Galileo, or some other author. Of course, I do not discount the possibility that I made a mistake. I'll wait another reasonable interval, but I see no reason not to warn the reader that this is not a verified quotation of Galileo without a direct and full citation. TomS TDotO 18:08, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
An editor said "I don't see any reason to doubt that this is in the Dialogue." Please give a good citation for where it appears in the Dialogue, if it does. If not, then the lack of a good citation is reason to doubt that it is in the Dialogue. TomS TDotO 12:48, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

Confession to the inquisition[edit]

This one is circulating on the web, is it a real quote?

"I, Galileo… do swear that I have always believed, do now believe and with God's aid shall believe hereafter, that all that which is taught and preached by the … church. I must wholly forsake the false opinion that the sun is the center of the world and moves not, and that the earth is not the center of the world and moves…"

Metaphor for God[edit]

Here's a quote I like, that's attributed to Galileo, but I have no idea if it's a real quote. It sounds like something he might say. It may be from his "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems." Does anybody know: The Sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a vine of grapes like it had nothing else to do in the world. —23:02, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

Suggested change re: Eppur si muove[edit]

Currently, the "Eppur si muove" quote appears in a misattributed section and appears as follows:


  • Eppur si muove.
    • "And yet it moves" or "but it moves" is a comment he is alleged to have made in regard to the Earth after his recantation before the Inquisition. Giuseppe Baretti was apparently the first person to record the story. Noted as a misattribution in Paul F. Boller, John George, They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions (1990), p. 30.

According to the final paragraph of the Wikipedia article w:Eppur si muove, the legend that Galileo said this was circulating even back when Galileo was still around.  It could be argued that, had Galileo actually uttered these words, people would have been disinclined to write about it for fear of the Inquisition, and that that's why the story was only spread by word of mouth for the first 124 years.  The fact that the legend was already alive in Galileo's own day is an indication that he might have said it.  This, I suggest we change that section to appear like this:


  • Eppur si muove.
    • "And yet it moves" or "still it moves" is a comment he is alleged to have made in regard to the Earth after his recantation before the Inquisition. Giuseppe Baretti was apparently the first person to record the story. Noted as a misattribution in Paul F. Boller, John George, They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions (1990), p. 30.

allixpeeke (talk) 16:26, 19 November 2014 (UTC)

Two months have passed, and I've seen no objections to my suggested alteration, so I am going to go ahead with said alteration.  allixpeeke (talk) 22:42, 22 January 2015 (UTC)


  • La matematica è l'afabeto nel quale Dio ha scritto l'Universo.
    • Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.

Cannot teach quote attribution date[edit]

I have been tracing this quote, and I've gone a bit further back than what is currently listed:

E. Quinet, The Roman Church and Modern Society, ed. and trans. C. Edwards Lester (New York, 1845), p. 62,

The quote is "One cannot teach another person the truth, ... one can only help him to find it in himself."