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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Galileo Gets Statue in the Vatican

Seeking to fully redeem the legacy and image of Galileo, the Vatican will erect a statue in the astronomer's honor within the Vatican gardens. The statue will stand near the apartment where Galileo lived while awaiting trial on the charge of heresy, brought against him by the Catholic Church. During the 1633 trial, Galileo was forced by the Inquisition to recant his scientific view of heliocentrism, the idea that the Earth revolves around the sun. Now, in the lead-up to the 400th anniversary of Galileo's telescope next year, the Vatican is seeking to make amends, not only with the statue, but also with a conference on the scientist and a review of his case at an institute in Florence. —Stephen Mapes