Friday, April 22, 2011

God, Galileo, and Grumpy Teddy Bears: Part 2

Galileo was in church one day, gazing absently at the tall ceilings and ornate stain glass windows. He was twenty, failing medical school at the University of Pisa, and not sure what he wanted from life. At fifteen, he had decided to become a monk, but his father sent him to medical school at the tender age of seventeen instead. Now he was failing.

A large lamp caught his eye as it swung a ponderous arc through the air, back and forth, back and forth. Suddenly, Galileo saw more than just a swinging lamp, and what he saw got him thinking. Within in a short time, he had developed a principle which revolutionized time-keeping and kick started the modern science of mechanics: the law of the pendulum.

To be honest, that story is probably a myth. What it teaches about Galileo, however, is almost certainly true. Galileo had a curious, questioning mind. He found profound new insights in the most commonplace, ho-hum things of life--like swinging lamps. For him, the ordinary held potential for endless discovery.

To be continued...

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