Here’s a cool idea for a movie — a bunch of scientists are sitting around wondering why some of Galileo’s observations turned out to be wrong. They think maybe his bad eyesight led him to some false conclusions, so they dig up his body to perform DNA testing on it.
I think you know what happens next:
If you think the plot of my little film is too preposterous, think again:
Italian and British scientists want to exhume the body of 16th century astronomer Galileo for DNA tests to determine if his severe vision problems may have affected some of his findings.
The scientists told Reuters on Thursday that DNA tests would help answer some unresolved questions about the health of the man known as the father of astronomy, whom the Vatican condemned for teaching that the earth revolves around the sun.
“If we knew exactly what was wrong with his eyes we could use computer models to recreate what he saw in his telescope,” said Paolo Galluzzi, director of the Museum of History and Science in Florence, the city where Galileo is buried.
Basically these scientists want to dig up old Galileo because they think he had either unilateral myopia or something called creeping angle closure glaucoma. Knowing the answer could lead them to a better understanding of why Galileo thought the rings of Saturn were moons, and why his wife kept catching him humping his telescope.
Is that two moons around Saturn I see? [Reuters]