BOOK LIGHTS: “Out There” printed in Discover Magazine, October 2011, by Sean Carroll

“On February 17, 1600, Giordano Bruno, a mathematician and Dominican friar, was stripped naked and driven through the streets of Rome. Then he was tied to a stake in the Campo de’ Fiori and burned to death. The records of Bruno’s long prosecution by the Inquisition have been lost but one of his major heresies was cosmological. He advocated that other stars were like our sun, and that they could each support planets teeming with life. Orthodox thought of the time preferred to think that Earth and humanity were unique.”

Sean Carroll

Is it any wonder that we hesitate to examine new ideas when being burned at the stake might be our reward? Of course, we are not usually physically burned at the stake in the 21st Century for putting forth a new idea, but we sometimes, at an unconscious level, fear that punishment, and for some of us, the social consequences seem just as dire. So choose to overcome the fear and explore. The Hubble Space Telescope has proven Bruno to be correct!

 

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