tv Mario Livio Galileo and the Science Deniers CSPAN December 22, 2020 11:08pm-12:13am EST
tonight's event is an installment in the book talk series we are so excited to continue the work of bringing the authors of recently published literature to these unprecedented times just like always you can find announcements about upcoming events at events/science and sign up for the letter at harvard.com for more updates and additionally, we have a science research public lecture series tube page where you can see previous talks. this evening's event is going to conclude if you would like to ask something. we are going to get through as many as time allows for and also at the bottom of the screen during the presentation you will see a button to purchase the book galileo and the science deniers. all sales support bookstores so thank you for your support
during this difficult time. your purchases and financial contributions and there's also a donation button at the bottom of the screen to make this possible. and now more than ever to ensure the landmark of the bookstore. thank you also to the partners at harvard university and to all of you for tuning in and showing up for authors, publishers, bookselling and especially science. as you might have imagined in the virtual gatherings, technical issues can arise if they do we will do our best to resolve them quickly. thank you for your patience and understanding. now i'm pleased to introduce tonight's speaker a world-renowned astrophysicist and best-selling author known for his award-winning books that include what makes us curious, the golden ratio, blunders, is got a mathematician, the
accelerating universe and the equation that couldn't be solved which is the basis for an emmy nominated program. as a fellow of the american association for the advancement of science, he's made a significant theoretical contributions to topics ranging from cosmology to supernova explosions to the emergence of life in the universe. moving in this research and popular renowned he's appeared on numerous programs. tonight he is with us presenting his seventh book, galileo and the science deniers that is a beautifully written history particularly in light of the current situation and crisis one would have hoped it could be treated as a fascinating history
book. very simple reason. i am in astrophysicist he is a fascinating person in general and to this business that we still have to deal with today these i think are good enough reasons to do this so i started by noting the fact that galileo is awake. my presentation jumps to the very last slide. i start with the fact he's a larger than life for reasons many of you know i'm sure about some of you will find out here
so because he was such a hero, many works of art in various areas of the humanities were devoted to him so i've collected a few for example of paintings and i wrote them one on top of the other as i take a bunch of photographs and look at them and through them one on top of the others so thiother so this is tt portrait known. it was done by a painter you will notice his eyes are not symmetric. there was something that appeared in other paintings as well. this is a painting that at a later age this particular it isn't clear whether that is true or not. this is one of the most famous paintings.
he's holding the telescope in his hand and we will be talking about that but he appeared in other paintings for example. this is even done in the last century to explain his discoveries to people from the catholic church. but in addition to regular standard classical paintings there's other types of works of art for example, pop art.
here he's scuba diving or something. he made it into works of art in other areas. there is a very famous play the life of galileo and this is a scene from one of the directions and there is an opera written. i have a small piece of it believe it or not we were unable to make the sound work so you will not hear the music that you will at least see the images. therthere's some new singing gog
on. i cannot tell you why that is happening so i would just jump over that. let me jump to the discoveries. i apologize. i never use crowd cast and i don't know how to arrange any kind of technicalities here so the discovery. some of the discoveries had to do with pure physics but he was interested in freefall. it was dropped from the leaning tower of pisa.
i found no reliable evidence the embellishments could have been on both sides. what he suspected was whether or not they fall faster because aristotle said the heavier the faster it falls and not only that but it falls faster in proportion to the weight and galileo there was no good time measuring device so he came up
with this incredibly clever idea it could be seen as an extreme case making a very small he was able to dilute gravity if you like to slow down the motions efficiently to make more accurate measures but he did more than that by allowing it to roll down and then fly into the air he was able to see what they do and thrown into the air and
drawing he understood what he was observing was a surface with mountains if you look at the bottom right small figure you will see that there are points of light in the dark side in the dark parts. he he understood that they were illuminated by the sun and that as time was progressing it was sort of creeping down the mountains so he understood very well what he was seeing here and this was important because until
were to revolve around the sun, surely it would have lost its moon. how do they manage to preserve the moon, well here was jupiter revolving around something obviously keeping its form so that killed that objection as well so this was extraordinarily important. it is less known that galileo also detected the planet neptune in 1612. this is the point that you see on the very left. he didn't recognize it as a planet because his telescope wasn't good enough to be able to tell that it was moving.
one of the most important discoveries and i'm not giving you all of them, just a flavor. it was known to be between the earth and the sun and if it is revolving around the sun then it is a whole set. when it is closest to earth it should look largest and basically dark. this is not expected if it was revolving around the earth.
perhaps the strongest in the 1950s they noticed the following starting from about the 30s, people in the literary circles started to refer to themselves excluding scientists from that and they were complaining about the scientists not knowing much about the humanities at all. at the same time that didn't
seem to bother them so he wrote this book he basically described a schism that developed between the humanities and sciences. if you look in galileo he wouldn't have even understood. even in terms of the chronology we could call him a renaissance person but he was in every aspect. he gave two lectures on the
publish the book was written as a conversation among three people. another was an educated person and the third was supposed to be an avid. galileo had been to call the person that was actually named after a great supporter of aristotle's theories but also somewhat a connotation. in this book anybody that read the book immediately sort of saw he strongly supported the model
the special commission appointed to say whether he defended and concluded that was considered and i should also mention 17 years earlier there was an injunction that didn't allow him to hold or defend. he had in his possession a letter from the chief cardinal at the time that basically said they couldn't hold the position
but he didn't say he couldn't teach it or talk about it so he thought he was okay, but that didn't fly very well and he was put on trial. very often when people talk about the affair they presented it as if this was a clash between science and religion. it absolutely was not. he was himself a religious person. because the bible wasn't a
science book the ability or the stability is neither a matter of faith or concrete to ethics so he pointed out the names of the planets are not even mentioned in the bible so basically his point was it is written for our salvation and not as a science book and therefore should not be taken as a science book and whenever there was a conflict between one observation and experiment and the literal interpretation it means it had to be different because it was written for common people to understand if observations and
reasoning tell you one thing that appears to be contrary to the literal interpretation he was put on trial and the reason perhaps was an attempt to reach some sort of preview but it didn't work particularly well. this resulted in one of the most horrible events in our intellectual history where he was found suspected of heresy.
i want to make a point we see this as an assault on intellectual freedom. the point is irrespective of whether he was talking about a correct model suppose it was the wrong one but it was still his right to write about it. the church didn't really have the right to condemn him. it was on the index. now he recanted on his knees
again and mentioned the errors and heresies which basically went against much of his life's work so this is a really horrible incident. i do want to emphasize from his own perspective because he didn't tell the people who gave him permission to bring the book about that injunction from 17 years earlier the church was right to find him guilty as an assault on intellectual freedom there is no question about this. i hate to use the following phrase, but galileo ended up
giving them the finger this is in the galileo museum in florence when his body was moved from an obscure grave to the current, a tooth and vertebrae were removed from his body for whatever reason and now they are here. the point is the following. in 1992, pope john paul ii recognized that galileo was right and the church was wrong. here is what he said. he basically said simply that and again we lost connection. can you please do something. >> sorry, my microphone was off.
i am here. >> they said paradoxically -- >> do you want to screen share again. sorry, i canceled that. that's my fault. there we go. >> are we okay now. >> yes. >> so, pope john paul ii said paradoxically galileo is a sincere believer that proved himself more on this issue than his theologian adversaries. the majority of theologians didn't perceive the distinction that exists so basically the
this shows the atmosphere in the past 50 years measured very accurately and the main thing i want to look at is not so much the value of the concentration, but the enormously rapid rate that is changing and if that didn't impress you enough or convince you that this is related to the human activity i want to show you the past 300 years so here it is the past 300 years and if you look from about
1850 look at the rise in the concentration and in particular the rise of the last 50 years. furthermore people can determine the concentration in the atmosphere even in the past 10,000 years and this is what it looks like so you can see it sort of bounces all over the place but look at the rate at which it happens we even have for the past 800,000 years again, i am stuck again.
>> would you like to screen share again. we are getting really good at this. >> but it is unfortunate. if i give a talk for seven hours may be bmaybe by then we will be perfect. >> looks good on my end. >> people say it happened over the years and you can see the changes here but look at what happens in the recent past. it just when you have today's
situations when people try to ignore these or try to deny the existence of climate change but after that whether humans had anything to do with this this is what they should remember and it's very sad we are in the middle of a pandemic now and at the very early stages statements such as now we have 15 cases and soon it will be close to zero didn't help. some had the initial response to actually trust the science.
we could have ended up with far fewer people dying from this. basically i want to finish with some lessons from here and there is a main lesson by the way it is right across from the tomb and the main lesson here is the following it is never a good idea to bet against science and to do so when things like human life or the planet are at stake it is unconscionable to do.
you can feel free to enter them in the question box below let's look at what we have so far. what was the relationship if any between other enlightened scholars. >> he was in good relations with many scientists of his time in particular for a while he was in good relationship with a very famous astronomer they exchanged correspondence and he was in relationship with mathematicians in rome. with some of them he had very serious disagreements and in
particular he was very annoyed when they didn't come to his defense even though their observations fully confirmed. >> does science tend to build on itself over a long time with many incremental contributors or vast elites by those like galileo who was the galileo of the 21st century? >> i imagine from the question about the revolutions in science but science advances in both,
not one of the two. there is a lot of incremental work that eventually leads to a revolution so sometimes it isn't so noted. of course there are those that are inspired by for example technology. when you have something like this clearly that is like a quantum leap. when you have people like einstein who said just general relativity in the sense that it wasn't in the air at all otherwise most of the time it is incremental and dependent on the
technology i don't know that we have one yet to be honest. for a while we thought that it would be an answer to many questions and now there are serious doubts whether that is actually true so we don't really know. i think with advances in new telescopes and things like this, we will have new discoveries. >> held we combated the continued assault that is still happening, how do we turn the tide back to science? >> i wish i knew the answer to that. as i said i think that the current sidelining of science is alarming to be honest.
there are some studies that appear to show once they formed certain opinions it is extremely difficult to change those opinions even if you present them with contradictory factors so the only way in my opinion to combat this is to start with children in the education syst system. we need the artists and the musicians and all that. we see it as a part of the
>> he did not believe much in mysterious forces acting upon distance. this is why his explanations are often tied and were completely wrong. on many occasions he was wrong. he didn't understand the galileo never accepted it. he found some laws of freefall but went to newton but he was not newton he did other things. >> this is a related question
about his research. was galileo where a better supposition the different points of lights called stars were son sons? and where were his own speculations? >> yes. he was among his many discoveries he turned his telescope to the milky way and he showed would normally looks a continuous light broke down too many many stars of different luminosity's. so he understood they were a vast number of stars and was with his feet being burned at the stake unfortunately. >> he would have been burned at the stake to.
>> i don't know what to say. that's portable. michael asks, concerning the term intellectuals, a parallel term has been used for some time on the continent does that refer to scientist and literary scholars are only the latter is that a response to the bolsheviks? >> i don't think it was a response to the bolshevik. in galileo's time, if we go back 400 years, certainly there was no very clear distinction and then she famously had a lot of science experiments as well as being a
painter. and who by the way was born on the state, today, may 21st. he was a great painter but accomplished mathematician. so people around that time did both. the distinctions were blurred between artist and people who were architects but painters. shirley the phenomenon that was noted come i don't think really started in the 1930s. it started before that but he documented it since then. there are people who still think that today. people like myself who tried to bridge the gap by writing
popular science books to make it clear it's all part of one culture. >> randy has a question rather bleak but a thought experiment does the professor think the covid experience is the end of science deniers if they die from unprotected behavior? >> no. first of all i don't wish anybody to die. even if i completely disagree with her opinions. but it will not be the end of science denial. even now we are living through a stage where there is a question the response of the us was inadequate at least the very early stages are to some extent now.
here is a statistic. looking at me 14, number of deaths in the us and south korea. south korea has 52 million people the us has 328. i calculated deaths per million in south korea and the us. on the west the death on may 14264 people died per million of population. do you know that number in south korea? five. five. in the us it was 264 south korea was five. five.zero three to be precise. what is the difference? the response from the
beginning follow the science they did contact tracing and isolation all the steps we eventually ended up doing we did it one - - they did away from the start. vietnam, germany to some extent germany the number isn't as good as south korea they had 95 deaths per million germany has a population of 83 million people. but again they responded more quickly and follow the science. >> we have time for one more question. will be your answer to someone who doesn't agree with the consensus on global warming?
not just global warming but as a source for decision-making? how would you respond to people in your own life? >> this is totally nonpartisan those graphs speak for themselves. we see the past 50 years of not talking specific numbers but the rate of change it is unprecedented in history and recorded history. clearly we are facing a serious problem here. even if you are not 100 percent convinced that humans are responsible for this, there is no doubt that
human activity if we continue to burn fossil fuels will not help the situation. we must do something because if not places like bangladesh or florida could be underwater. we have to do something about this and hopefully everybody will recognize that at some point and yes it will cost money. now with this pandemic it did cost money but sometimes things happen and they are so bart was - - so bad but you have to pay a price and that may be very difficult. now we have so many unemployed it's horrible. i recognize that but it's also horrible to have hundreds of thousands of dead people.
>> a bleak note to end on. >> believe in science is positive note to end on. >> i agree that's what it's about after all. thank you once again for your presentation and for your patience with the technology and thank you to all of you out there for spending your evening with us. feel free to learn more about this book and purchase galileo at the link below. on behalf of harvard bookstore harvard university division of science all here in cambridge massachusetts have a good night and keep reading and please be well. good night. >> thank you everybody