Polemic-centric science

Editorial Staff
March 20, 2008

Some controversies die young, while others continue to attract the public's attention for centuries. More than 360 years after his death, Renaissance scientist Galileo Galiei has once again sparked heated debate. This time, the disagreement is over a recent proposal to exhume his body.

A group of Italian researchers want to examine Galileo's remains to carry out DNA tests to find the cause of the blindness that afflicted him later in life. Scholars also want to reveal whether the other body buried with the Renaissance genius, is in fact his daughter, Sister Maria Celeste.

Galileo's tomb is located in Florence's Santa Croce Basilica. The parish priest has voiced his opposition to the proposal, saying it would be ‘disrespectful'.

Meanwhile, officials at the Florence Science Museum have announced that the institution will bear the scientist's name once restoration work is completed in 2009. Requiring the museum to be closed for the next 16 months, the 8 million euro project will improve existing exhibition spaces. The name change coincides with the 400th anniversary of Galileo's most important astronomical discoveries made in the early seventeenth century. The original instruments used by the pioneering astronomer, including two telescopes, which belong to the museum.

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