How Galileo Moved Heaven and Earth

Former Executive Director, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Alan C. Lowe has served as interim Director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, founding Director of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, and Executive Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. He currently is Executive Director of the American Museum of Science and Energy and Executive Director of the K-25 History Center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Lowe is also the co-host and historian of the popular podcast, American POTUS, all about the American presidency, and the new podcasts American SCOTUS (focusing on the United States Supreme Court) and American FLOTUS (focusing on America’s First Ladies).


Most people know the story of Galileo.  In the Middle Ages, when the powerful Catholic Church controlled nearly everything, one man stepped forward to challenge an ignorant world. He insisted that the earth revolves around the sun, and for this heresy he was tried and imprisoned. His ordeal will be remembered forever as a symbol of the Church’s hostility toward science. That narrative is a bit simplistic, though. Join Alan Lowe as he builds on the prevailing narrative with the real facts of the Galileo affair. First, he places it in context: explaining the prevailing views of the universe before Galileo, the scientific basis of Galileo’s theories, and the motives of the major players in the case. Then, with attention to the many nuances, he pursues the historical evidence of Galileo’s trial and its aftermath — a story you may not have heard before.


Recommended Reading:

A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos, by Dava Sobel

Galileo’s Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love, by Dava Sobel

Galileo: Watcher of the Skies, by David Wooten




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Shella Gardezi

Great Presentation

I found this lecture interesting and eye opening. In addition to providing the history, he had great insight into how Galileo’s work influenced modern science and also raised philosophical debate.

2 years ago
marianne bernsen


like many of these lectures- the scope is too large and it is easy for
the lay listener to loose the thread. Narrowing it down would give a
more focused presentation- maybe one or two specifics that give
real information and background- again- too much ground is covered.
Presentation was good and that is always a plus!!!

2 years ago
Pete Che'


Well done. This has me delving deeper into Galileo and the museum at Oakridge

1 year ago
kevin fox

5 - 7 stars (gotta negate the 3* review!))

I disagree with reviewer who said lecture covered too many topics (disagreeing calmly and open to listening to rebuttal as the lecturer said ! :P,, (comment he made answering a question relevant to Galileo and the issue of church and science))

As always this lecturer gives a wonderful lecture geared to lay persons but no doubt worthwhile for all

12 months ago
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