Columbus Discovering the Americas Essay

Pages: 4 (1112 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Astronomy

Scientific Discoveries That Changed the World

Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton radically altered thoughts regarding the earth's place in the universe. Astronomy underwent a significant change in much the same way as the natural world did when Columbus discovered the Americas. In the same sense as Columbus' discovery, Galileo and Newton did not simply challenge traditional ideas about the world, they offered considerable proof. Columbus discovered new land and Galileo and Newton discovered new aspects of the universe that forced the world to realize that there is more to it than they once believed. These men were "on their own" for all intents and purposes; the world did not readily embrace ideas that challenged conventional thought. They had the character to persevere and the world benefited as a result. Just as the world had to face the fact that the Earth was not flat, the world had to face the fact that the Earth was not the center of the universe.

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Galileo's discoveries forced society to realize certain things about the universe. The universe was thought to be smaller than it is and from the days of Aristotle, people believed the Earth was the center of all things. Galileo discovered the supernova, which supported a new notion that things were happening and changes were occurring in "distant parts of the universe" (Pasachoff 40). While this notion makes perfect sense to us today, in his day and time, Galileo was going against all traditional thinking. He was speaking out against the greatest minds the world had known up until that point. He was a lone voice fighting for the "paradoxes of science against the tyranny of common sense" (316 Boorstin). To those that could not see what he saw, he was nothing more than a madman. Entertaining such thoughts would mean thinking about the Earth and the universe in a completely different way and that was difficult to do.

Essay on Columbus Discovering the Americas Assignment

However, Galileo saw many things and made many astonishing revelations about the universe that made traditional thinking seem less plausible. When he discovered sunspots, he stumbled upon more trouble for himself in the form of debate. Galileo butted heads with Chrisoph Scheiner, a supporter of Aristotelian physics firmly believed the "Sun itself was perfect and unmarked, which meant that the spots had to be caused by something between the Sun and Earth" (Goldsmith 29). Galileo disagreed, arguing that the spots were on the Sun and he proudly published his theory. This move was dangerous because Galileo was challenging more than Aristotle; he was defying the Church. Galileo did not stop there and went on to proclaim that the Earth was a moving object in the universe. His book, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems of the World, openly discussed his theory about the Earth. While we can look at this book today as one of the most significant books published in the scientific world, it was nothing but "disaster" (35) for Galileo. The pope hated the book and the ideas it supported and Galileo faced trail for heresy. He was "treated like a criminal" (White 55), placed under house arrest and saw his books banned.

Another great thinker that changed the way the scientific world viewed the earth and the universe was Isaac Newton. Newton benefited from the work of Galileo, Tycho Brahe, and Johann Kepler. Newton calculated… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Columbus Discovering the Americas.  (2010, January 9).  Retrieved April 3, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/columbus-discovering-americas/848108

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"Columbus Discovering the Americas."  Essaytown.com.  January 9, 2010.  Accessed April 3, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/columbus-discovering-americas/848108.