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June 22: Galileo Recants


On this day in 1633, The Catholic Church put the arm on Galileo Galilei and persuaded him to recant his wild idea about the Earth going around the Sun instead of visa versa. Galileo was going around saying things like, and I quote, “The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of wine grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.” Unquote. But the science was settled, the Holy Office assured him, so he was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life. He’d eventually be pardoned, three and a half centuries down the line. So, you’re probably wondering, did this brilliant Italian scientist, astronomer, mathematician and physicist have any theories about wine? He did, and I quote, “Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” He was probably being metaphorical. Or maybe not.