Galileo in Context

Galileo Galilei, born February 15, 1564, died January 8, 1642. Galileo essentially solidified Copernicus’s, Brahe’s, and Kepler’s work that showed that Earth is not the center of the universe. His observations of the sun, moon, Venus, and Jupiter’s moons were important in proving that celestial bodies are not perfect and that most things in the solar system (except our own moon) do not orbit the Earth.

In 1587, Mary (Queen of Scots) was executed. She was/is a well-known figure whose reign and whose life were surrounded in controversy.

In 1603, the Tokugawa Period began in Japan. This was the last period of ‘traditional’ Japanese government, before it became heavily influenced by external forces from Europe, the US, and other nations.

William Shakespeare also lived during the same time as Galileo. He was born April 26, 1564 and died April 23, 1616. Shakespeare was an important, influential playwright/author who wrote many plays that are still studied and taught today.

It was just interesting for me to realize that all of these things were happening at once. Maybe because of how school and classes are structured, it’s easy to think of everything I’ve learned or seen in one subject as completely separate from everything else, but this assignment reminded me of just how unrealistic that segregation is. This assignment helped me ‘connect the dots,’ as it were, between at least four separate things I’ve learned about. Galileo I’ve heard of in past science courses (as well as this one); Mary, Queen of Scots, I’ve been exposed to briefly in history classes and in TV shows depicting her reign and death; the Tokugawa period is something we’ve just finished discussing in a Japanese history class I’m taking this semester; and Shakespeare I’ve studied in various English classes over the years. It honestly never occurred to me before to step back and realize that the dates for everything overlap the way they do.


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