Controversy over the Comets
Galileo’s controversy over the comets illustrates how difficult it can be to implement novel research methods in science.
Galileo believed that mathematics is the language of nature. He challenged the established discipline of natural philosophy, or physics, which used non-mathematical methods.
Galileo’s defenses of mathematics as the language of nature occurred in the midst of controversies with fellow mathematicians. Even for mathematicians, mathematical methods alone proved unable to resolve the enigmas they faced.
History of Science
5th Floor Special Collections
This exhibit is located on the 5th Floor Special Collections, accessed through the elevators in the west main lobby of Bizzell Memorial Library. Visit History of Science for visitor information.
Essential items for a core understanding
Exhibit At A Glance
Illustration and Description of the Incomparably Great Comet (Abbildung und Beschreibung deß wunderwürdigen unvergleichlichen Cometen). Nuremberg, 1680
Johann Hevelius, On Comets (Cometographia). Gdansk, 1668
Johann Hevelius, The Climactic Year (Annus climactericus). Gdansk, 1685
Explore the Topic
Supplemental resources for a rich educational experience
Learn more about the Copernican system in which the Sun is immobile at the center of the universe.
Tycho Brahe’s System
Learn more about Tycho Brahe, who built the large astronomical observatory of Uraniborg in Hveen.
Galileo's World Exhibit Guide
iBook companion to the Galileo's World exhibition
Gallery Book Lists
A list of all books in every exhibit (author/title/date).
Controversy over the Comets Book List
A list of all books in the Controversy over the Comets exhibit (author/title/date).