Fantastic Interview to Galileo Galilei, Liceo Copernico - Read and Listen

  • Anna Chiarini      Mario Piombino Ginevra Salvini                                        4I



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    Good evening, today we are on the top of the Pisa Tower and we have just met the soul of the old famous scientist Galileo Galilei.

    Interviewer: So, it’s a pleasure to meet you Galileo, how are you?

    Galileo: Hi, it has been years since my death, but I’m still frisky!

    I: Why are you here?

    G: Well, I love this place, it reminds me all the experiments I did when I was alive.

    I: Can you give me an example of those?

    G: Of course, one morning I was wondering around the Cathedral of the city when I saw an amazing chandelier and I was inspired to study the pendulum motion. At the end I managed to discover its isochrony: it says that the swing of pendulums of equal length is constant, whatever the extent of the swing is.

    I: Wow, it’s amazing. You have really been one of the best scientists of all time! But, do you know that one of your famous theories, the one concerning the tides, was found to be wrong?

    G: Yes, I’ve heard something about it but I thought it was a fake news.

    I: No, it’s true. Tides are caused by the gravitational pull acted on the earth by the moon.

    G: It seems a too magical thesis… what a gullible generation!

    I: I can assure you that it’s real, but Galileo, don’t be disappointed, your scientific method is still used today by all the scientists.

    G: How nice, I’m really glad!

    I: For all our listeners, this method is based on making assumptions that have to be verified by experiments, in order to find out general laws.

    G: What a good explanation!

    I: Thank you. Among all your discoveries, which is your favourite?

    G: Undoubtedly the identification of the moons of Jupiter.

    I: So when you used your telescope!

    G: Yes, well not my telescope, I haven’t invented it. Hans Lippershey, a German optician naturalized Dutch, gave it to me and I’ve just improved it, in order to adapt it to my experiments.

    I: Wow, besides all your qualities, you are also humble.

    *Galileo blushes*

    G: But now let’s stop talking about science… rather, one day, all of a sudden, I noticed that one of my fingers was disappeared. Do you know why?

    I: Yes, I can explain it: a century after your death, when your corpse was moved for a new burial, an admiral cut it off, and now it is in a museum in Florence and points at Rome.

    G:  Ah, don’t tell me that, at the Pope. At least it’s the middle finger, ahahahaha. I hate Urban VIII, he ruined my life.

    I: Yes I know, but in 1992 the Church recognized its mistake and apologized with you.

    G: I will never forgive it, the abjuration of my doctrines twisted me into the sad person I became.

    I: Oh I’m sorry. However I know that you haven’t always been so, in fact you liked creating riddles. One of them is particularly famous: to avoid that too many visitors annoyed you while you were studying, you usually posed them this puzzle, and only if they have solved it, they would have been let in in the room. They simply had to write something near a numerical sequence.

    G: Do you know the solution?

    I: Yes, I do and I think it’s really intriguing. Let’s give the sequence to our Italian audience,  the first person who guesses will win two tickets for the Galileo Museum in Florence.

    G: It will be very funny, the numbers are 5 10 2 9 8 4 6 7 3 1.

    (the answer is in the footnote ).

    I: One last question: everyone has always wondered why your name is so similar to your surname, can you explain us the reason why?                                               

    G: Sure, it’s because of a tradition in force at my time and in my region: the name of the first child had to remind the surname. I’ve always liked my name, so uncommon!                                              

    I: Thank you for being here, it was such a pleasure! Good night you all, so long.


    solution: The visitor should have written: “The numbers are put in alphabetical order”. In the language of Galileo Galilei it is Cinque 5, Dieci 10, Due 2, Nove 9, Otto 8, Quattro 4, Sei 6, Sette 7, Tre 3, Uno 1





    Elena Serena, Shirin Montagnani CLASS 4L

    We’re in the United States in 2019 at the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Galileo Galilei, the famous italian scientist, is here to talk about his life and work, explaining how he used mathematics to discover the universe and the concepts of physics that rule the earth.

    Jimmy Fallon: Good evening everybody! Today’s guest will be a physicist, astronomer and philosopher who has invented some of the most important instruments of our time, but also discovered our universe, so please welcome, ladies and gentlemen, Galileo Galilei!

    Galileo Galilei: Thank you so much Mr.Fallon for inviting me, it’s a pleasure to be here!

    Jimmy Fallon: Well, thank you for coming! So, starting with our first question, you are considered as one of the most important scientists in history and the father of the experimental method, could you please tell us  how did you make your discoveries?

    Galileo Galilei: First of all, I just realized that if we observe a specific phenomenon isolating him, we can understand the physical laws that allow this phenomenon to happen in our everyday life. In fact  I started making some experiments in order to study natural laws, and then I wrote them down using a mathematical language.

    Jimmy Fallon: It’s amazing how you find out that we could deduce physic laws from simple phenomenons! My second question for you is the following: you also invented the telescope in 1610 and I know you used it to observe our universe making some new discoveries, so can you tell us about it?

    Galileo Galilei: Of course! As you said, when I invented the telescope I wanted to study our universe and other planets, so I pointed it towards the Moon. I saw that his surface wasn’t a sphere with a perfect surface as the ancient philosophers believed, but there were millions of craters! Thanks to this experiment, I found out that every other planet in our universe is just like the earth and there is no planet that can be considered a perfect sphere. In addition to that, I also decided to point the telescope towards Jupiter and I saw that there were some little points near the planet. I observed these points for months and I understood that they changed their position, so my conclusion was that these little points were nothing less than satellites!

    Jimmy Fallon: I have to admit that I was very surprised when I heard about your discovery because now in 2019 there are thousand of books talking about universe and planets, but we often forget that in the past there weren't.

    Galileo Galilei: That’s true, but I saw that even now with all the technology you have, you still don’t have all the answers regarding both our planet and the others.

    Jimmy Fallon: You’re right, there are still a lot of mysteries in our universe that we haven’t solved yet and we don’t know if we will ever do. Talking about you, I also heard that you sold your telescope, right?

    Galileo Galilei: Yes, that’s right. At that time Italy wasn’t a unified country, so I sold it to the Republic of Venice, where I lived for a while, so they could use it to see their approaching enemies  thousand of miles away.

    Jimmy Fallon: That’s a good idea! You said that you lived in Venice for some years and I was wondering, where did you go afterwards?

    Galileo Galilei: Well, after Venice I went to Florence because they offered me a job as a teacher, but actually I didn’t have to teach young students. Indeed I was payed, but I had to stay at home in order to pursue my experiments.

    Jimmy Fallon: Is it true that in Florence you had some problems with the Church of Rome?

    Galileo Galilei: Yes, it is true. The fact was that Venice was the most independent city from the Church, so when I lived there I was protected by their government, but when I moved to Florence I was subjected to the willingness of the Church, in fact they denounced me in 1612 because what I wrote in the Sidereus Nuncius was considered an heresy.

    Jimmy Fallon: Well, as you might have noticed, in this last century the Church isn't really hindering developments in science. What do you think about it?

    Galileo Galilei:  Religious institutions don't have a relevant power anymore. This is indeed a good thing for scientists, because they are free to inform the whole world - and with social medias, this process is pretty swift - about their discoveries without even having to deal with the Church. My life would have been easier if I were a 21st century scientist. For example, while writing Il Saggiatore, a treatise that I wrote in Italian, published in 1623, I had to pay attention not to oppose Church’s beliefs, otherwise they would have condemned my work, again.

    Jimmy Fallon: And what did you wrote in Il Saggiatore? I heard that you basically wrote this treatise in response to Orazio Grassi’s de tribus cometis anni 1618, where he made theories about the comets and their origins. Am I wrong?

    Galileo Galilei: No, you are totally right! I wrote Il Saggiatore because I was convinced that Grassi’s theories were completely incorrect. Actually, I was the one in the wrong. He adopted Tycho Brahe’s theory, in which the planets orbit around the sun, whereas the sun orbits around the Earth, and he affirmed that comets are celestial bodies. I mean, thinking about today's knowledge in this field, Grassi’s theory was not completely wrong, just a little bit generic.

    Jimmy Fallon: And how did you replied to him?

    Galileo Galilei: I wrote an epistolary essay in which I went by the name of Lotario Sarsi. The importance of my work was not what I wrote itself, but the fact that I based my theories on observations. That's why everyone say that I applied a scientific method. Instead Grassi based his remarks on books, studies that other people made in the past.

    Jimmy Fallon: Well, there's no need to say, but you are the best!

    Galileo Galilei: Ah, thanks Jimmy, I appreciate it a lot.

    Jimmy Fallon: I have one question left, were you born in Florence?

    Galileo Galilei: No, I was born in Pisa. The fun fact is that now these two cities don’t really like each other, even if I don’t understand why. So when I went to Florence, a few days ago, I said that I was from Pisa, but they weren’t really happy. It was pretty embarrassing…

    Jimmy Fallon: That’s crazy! Weren’t they happy to see you?

    Galileo Galilei: Not at all! And this made me laugh.

    Jimmy Fallon: Well, Italians… I really can't understand them…

    Galileo Galilei: I relate!

    Jimmy Fallon: We spent a great time today, don't you think so?

    Galileo Galilei: Of course! Thank you for having invited me!

    Jimmy Fallon: Thank you for coming! [to the audience] stay tuned to the Tonight Show, after the break we will get to know David Bowie, who kindly left his tomb and joined us! See you in a few minutes!


    This Impossible interviews are part of a project the two classes ( 4L and 4I ) created working in group at school, using their cellphones as well as school computers.

    You can see the whole project clicking here for CLASS 4I

    You can see the whole project clicking here for CLASS 4L