Dr. Carlo Cipollone, the Educational Director of the Italian Consulate, presented the following article, Galileo's Educational Legacy, at a recent symposium at Harvard University. The event was in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the invention of the telescope. Many thanks to the author for his permission to republish it and North End resident, Nancy Caruso, for the submission.
In occasion of the Week of Celebration of the Italian Language in the World, the Consulate General of Italy in Boston in collaboration with Harvard University and the Italian Space Agency present a symposium.
Galileo's Telescope and the Beginning of the Scientific Revolution and Space Exploration
Galileo's Educational Legacy
by Dr. Carlo Cipollone
Educational Director of the Italian Consulate
As an educator, I can confirm that Galileo continues to generate great curiosity today, even among the youngest members of our society. A few days ago I received an email from a nine year-old student. With her mother's help, young Ashley asked to address some simple questions to scientists and experts on Galileo. She also requested to meet with me for a chat about this icon of scientific discovery. While reviewing Ashley's questions I realized that children, in their ingenuity, manage to raise complex topics and queries - challenging most adults to give a suitable answer.
The question that struck me the most was probably the most difficult to answer: "Why is Galileo so important today"?
I hope that I can give an answer to Ashley's question. I will aim to give the best response I can, trying to offer a perspective based on the man behind the telescope, the man who influenced countless disciplines.
Galileo's ideas not only sparked a scientific revolution, they initiated a large-scale revolution in human thinking. He changed the way we see the world and more importantly, how we perceive ourselves within it.
Everything began four hundred years ago...