Updated: Jun 13
Poem #2 from Mr. Pendlum’s Compendium-The Illustrated Multiverse Vol 1
The following poem tells the story of the brilliant scientist and polymath, Galileo Galilei. It recounts his many incredible achievements and tells of his fight for progress against authority and ignorance.
You’ll first come across the poem in audiovisual form — narrated, musicalized, and animated — then the poem in written form, the poem’s illustration from the illustrated poetry book, and finally an additional pondering related to the poem.
I’m certain that you’ve heard some people say a certain name, And if you’ve ever said it then you know it’s fun to say. But do you know the story of the man behind the name? This brilliant man whose name was Galileo Galilei
Scientist, mathematician, and astronomer by trade, Inventor too and engineer was Mr. Galilei. Such genius and ambition this Italian man displayed; It’s not much of a mystery why he quickly rose to fame.
So many great discoveries and clever things he made; He improved upon the telescope to look out into space. Four giant moons near Jupiter he found, and even they, Known as the Galilean moons, now share his charming name.
Europa, Io, Callisto, and Ganymede were they; These moons, with very ancient names of Zeus’s many flames, Were huge in size, but bigger was the impact that they made, For they would shape the course of history for Galilei.
These were the first of objects to be ever found in space That orbited another planet in a distant place; These were the moons that Galileo found that fateful day By looking through a special telescope that he had made.
“At last,” he thought, “this here is proof that surely lets me claim, Not everything revolves around the earth, in fact I’ll state: The earth revolves around the sun and not the other way!” But almost everybody else had something else to say:
“How ludicrous, preposterous, and utterly insane! Some other guy Copernicus I think once said the same! Take back your bold beliefs, your mad remarks, and silly claims, Or those of us in charge will firmly put you in your place!”
But his ideas changed the world, and those that were afraid Locked Galileo in his house, and there they made him stay, But Galileo wrote a book so critically acclaimed That made it sure his legacy and name would never fade.
For now we know how true they were, the many things he claimed; The earth revolves around the sun and not the other way. And now you know the story of the man behind the name, This brilliant man whose name was Galileo Galilei.
I think Galileo Galilei is one of those historical figures that sticks in most people’s minds from an early age. It was definitely the case for me. He was one of the first scientists whose name I could remember as a kid—and I still remember my father telling me the story of the famous phrase: “and yet it moves”, a phrase attributed to Galileo after he was forced by the church to take back his statements about the earth revolving around the sun and not the other way around, statements that were considered blasphemous at the time.
I’m pretty sure the fact that he is such a memorable figure is partly due to his name—let’s face it, his name is catchy and fun to say (just ask Queen). Of course, that’s not to deny his incredible achievements. His discoveries in multiple scientific fields paved the way for progress. In fact, his theories on heliocentrism and gravity were some of the building blocks used by Johannes Kepler to formulate his three laws of planetary motion, which would, in turn, be used by Isaac Newton to create his three laws of motion that ultimately became the bedrock of classical mechanics and the foundation of our modern understanding of the universe (until Einstein and quantum physicists came in and disrupted everything once more).
He also built a homemade telescope with which he discovered Jupiter’s moons! If that’s not an impressive DIY project, I don’t know what is!
Galileo was an exceptional thinker; he was curious, and not afraid to go against the grain. He continues to be a source of inspiration for artists and scientists alike, and, without a doubt, his place as one of the main protagonists in the story of science will be known by future generations, thanks, in part, to his quirky name.