44: Galileo & the Science Deniers with Mario Livio

Mario Livio Episode 44

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Mario Livio is a renowned astrophysicist & best-selling author. His new book “Galileo and the Science Deniers” is the gripping first biography of Galileo Galilei written by an astronomer. Though Galileo’s quest to prove that Earth orbits the sun was correct, he eventually recanted his belief as punishment for heresy. Livio describes parallels to our modern world where, even 400 years later, some people assail science when it conflicts with their ideology.

Show notes and resources are available here

An interview with Dr. Livio and Steve Mirsky on Scientific American's "Science Talk' podcast is available here.

 His research into whether Galileo actually said "And yet it moves!" is here

  • 00:05:37 Galileo’s quest for intellectual freedom wasn’t an attack on religion.
  • 00:12:15 Telescopes are tools that allow augmented senses.
  • 00:15:44 The importance of Galileo’s discoveries supporting Copernicanism.
  • 00:20:48 Why ideological bias does a disservice to both science and religion.
  • 00:25:51 Galileo was only human -- some of his findings were wrong.
  • 00:32:30 Denying science can be dangerous and even deadly.
  • 00:39:15 Did an unconvincing preface lead to Galileo’s arrest?
  • 00:44:12 Do authority figures have an obligation to keep the peace?
  • 00:49:39 Why Galileo was sentenced to house arrest instead of prison.
  • 00:54:43 What was Galileo like as a father?
  • 01:01:12 Teaching 'the controversy' can liven up science lessons.
  • 01:06:33 Lessons from Galileo for the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 01:10:44 5 questions INTO THE IMPOSSIBLE asks all authors.

Livio is now retired from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which operates the Hubble Space Telescope. He is a Fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and has published over 400 articles, both in peer-reviewed scientific journals and popular science magazines: www.mario-livio.com/articles Livio is also Science Advisor to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, collaborating on the world’s first VR music experience, The Hubble Cantata.

In this discussion with Dr. Brian Keating, Livio recounts Galileo’s prolific life of discovery, each step building a stronger case for the theory of Earth’s orbit around the sun. Even under house arrest, Galileo continued his experiments and even wrote and published a book in the last few years of his life. Livio’s book encourages a “Believe in Science!” attitude. In this time of turmoil when it comes to the science of climate change and a pandemic, denial can be deadly.

Buy Mario Livio’s books:

  • Watch Livio’s TEDxMidAtlantic talk, The Case for Curiosity, here  
  • Watch his interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show here
  • Find Mario Livio on the web: www.mario-livio.com and Twitter.

Find Brian Keating on Twitter and YouTube.  

A production of http://imagination.ucsd.edu/

Please subscribe, rate, and review the INTO THE IMPOSSIBLE Podcast on iTunes for a chance to win a copy of Livio’s latest book: