Galileo was an enquirer. His mind was full of questions. Is it possible to measure heat? Is it possible to weigh air? Can I find an accurate way to measure time? Does the earth stand still, or does it move? Does the sun move or does it stand still? What makes things float or sink?
Most people thought they already knew the answers to those questions. Anyone could see that the sun moved across the sky, around the earth. If at night, you looked up at the stars in all directions, you could certainly see that the earth was the center of everything. Measuring time with an hourglass or a sundial was good enough, wasn’t it?
Galileo believed that after you asked the questions, it was important to test the answers before you accepted them. He asked, “Is it true that heavier things fall faster than lighter ones?”
The story is that one day, when he was a Professor at the University of Pisa, he climbed to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa with two cannon balls. One weighed one pound; the other weighed ten pounds. He dropped them both at exactly the same time and they landed at exactly the same time.
Even though they had watched the experiment, the other professors didn’t believe what they saw. They were furious with Galileo for challenging Aristotle’s ideas.
Along Came Galileo is the story of a man who had the courage to ask questions.
Note: The book contains a reference to the universe’s being millions of years old. Use that reference as a discussion point with your student.
About the Author
Jeanne Bendick’s work has always been distinguished by her remarkable ability to express complex concepts in simple language, and to make difficult subjects interesting and comprehensible to the general reader. Through her whimsical illustrations and her bright engaging text Bendick has provided the middle reader with Galileo’s inspiring story.
Other Great Titles by Jeanne Bendick include
- Archimedes and the Door of Science
- Galen and the Gateway to Medicine
- Herodotus and the Road to History