During the summer of 2017 eighteen Lock Haven University students from various majors traveled to Italy to study Galileo and walk in the famed scientists own footsteps. Professor of physics Mike Cullin led the trip. “We traveled to Rome, Siena, Pisa, and Florence and visited many places relevant to Galileo’s life and work. The students learned about Galileo’s many scientific discoveries and inventions. They also learned about the controversy with the church over his support of the Copernican Heliocentric Theory of the Solar System that resulted in Galileo being, "vehemently suspected of heresy” and being held under house arrest for the remainder of his life.”
A few highlights of the students’ journey include visiting the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome where the trial of Galileo was held, visiting St. Peters Basilica in Rome where Galileo visited Pope Paul V and Pope Urban VIII who both played roles in the controversy, and visiting Villa Medici in Rome (the Tuscan Embassy in Galileo’s day) where Galileo was held under house arrest for a time.
In addition to those landmarks, the group climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa and toured the National Central Library of Florence to view a number of Galileo’s manuscripts and letters from his daughter. In Cullin’s view, the trip not only provided students a tremendous opportunity to learn about the renaissance through the lens of Galileo’s life and contributions to science, but they also gained exposure to other cultures and widened their view of the world.
Lock Haven University is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System, the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas of study. Nearly 520,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.
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