Feb 132014


On this date (two days before his birthday) in 1633 Galileo arrived in Rome for his trial for heresy before the Inquisition.  Galileo Galilei, often known mononymously as Galileo, was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the scientific revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism. Galileo has been called the “father of modern observational astronomy,”the “father of modern physics,” the “father of science,” and “the Father of Modern Science.” He probably should share some of those titles, but he is one of my great heroes.

His contributions to observational astronomy include the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter (named the Galilean moons in his honor), and the observation and analysis of sunspots. Galileo also worked in applied science and technology, inventing an improved military compass and other instruments, including the first microscope.

Galileo’s championing of heliocentrism was controversial within his lifetime, when most subscribed to either geocentrism or the Tychonic system. He met with opposition from astronomers, who doubted heliocentrism due to the absence of an observed stellar parallax. The matter was investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, which 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 heliocentrism. Galileo later defended his views in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, which appeared to attack Pope Urban VIII and thus alienated him and the Jesuits, who had both supported Galileo up until this point. He was tried by the Holy Office, then found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, was forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest in Florence. His apartment is still there! It was while Galileo was under house arrest that he wrote one of his finest works, Two New Sciences, in which he summarized the work he had done forty years earlier, on the two sciences now called kinematics and strength of materials.

The anathemas pronounced on him by the pope were not expunged until the 20th century.


Here’s chicken Galileo from this site:


Chicken Galileo


¼ cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

¼ cup chicken stock

salt and pepper, to taste

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

6 sun-dried tomatoes (oil-packed)

½ lb  fresh mozzarella, sliced about ½ inch thick

1 handful of fresh basil leaves


In a medium bowl, combine the vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic, stock, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken, stir well, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or for up to 2 hours.

Remove the chicken from marinade. With a sharp knife, cut horizontal slits in one side of each breast to form pockets. Don’t cut all the way through.

With your hand or the flat side of a knife, slightly flatten four of the sun-dried tomatoes. Chop the remaining 2 tomatoes. Into the pocket of each breast, insert a sun-dried tomato, a slice or two of mozzarella, some chopped sun-dried tomato, and a few basil leaves. Pinch the edges of each breast to close them.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the breasts. Cook, turning once, for 7 minutes on a side or until cooked through.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Slice them and arrange each one on a plate, fanning out the slices.

 Posted by at 11:29 am

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