Galileo’s World writing assignment

by Dr. Kathleen Crowther

Gw logoAssignment: Visit the Galileo’s World exhibit on the 5th floor of Bizzell Memorial Library. You will note that the exhibit is divided into the following galleries:

  1. Music of the Spheres
  2. Galileo, Engineer
  3. Galileo and China
  4. Controversy over the Comets
  5. A New Physics
  6. The Galileo Affair

Each of these six galleries begins with a question to prompt reflection. The question is painted on the wall at the beginning of the gallery. For example:

“What would it be like to be a mathematician in an era when music and astronomy were sister sciences?”

Pick one of the galleries of the exhibit and answer its guiding question. You should write this essay in FIRST PERSON. Write from the perspective of a person FROM THE 17TH CENTURY answering this question. You may choose to be a real person from the 17th century or invent a fictional character (some suggestions: Galileo, one of his students or colleagues or rivals, the Grand Duchess, a Jesuit in China, Vincenzo Galilei, a church official, an Inquisitor). You may write this in the form of a letter or diary entry or some other kind of first person document.

Your paper should be between 3 and 5 pages (900-1500 words).

Cf. the Grading rubric (pdf).

Find out more about the exhibit, including its hours at

Note: There are also exhibits on the Main floor of the Library (“Galileo and the Quest for Other Worlds” and “Galileo Today”), at the Bird Library of the Health Sciences Campus (“Galileo and the Health Sciences”), at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History (“The Eyes of the Lynx: The American Transformation of Natural History”), and soon to be at the National Weather Center, Headington Hall, and other locations. You are welcomed and encouraged to visit these, but they are not included in this assignment.

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