Galileo! Galileo!

Galileo’s middle finger. Appropriately.

The mystery no longer lingers:
Found, at last, two missing fingers.
They both belonged, as did one tooth,
To Galileo. That’s the truth.

The heretic had made a fuss
Supporting old Copernicus;
The Earth, he said, each year will run
An orbit ’round our yellow sun;

A statement, in The Church’s sight,
That could not possibly be right–
So Galileo swore he lied,
And nine years later, up and died.

Nine decades later, scientists
With strange things on their “must do” lists
Removed some fingers, teeth, and bones,
Then laid him back beneath the stones.

For years, his parts, though very old,
Were bartered, traded, bought and sold,
Until, in nineteen-hundred five,
Expected parts did not arrive.

The trading, then, went underground—
Until this year. Now, they’ve been found!
Next year, his fans may go and see ‘em
At Florence’s History of Science Museum.

The Beeb reports that… well, honestly, it’s best in their words:

Two fingers and a tooth belonging to famed astronomer Galileo Galilei have been found more than 100 years after going missing, a museum in Italy says.

A collector bought the items, lost since 1905, at auction and gave them to Florence’s History of Science Museum.
The museum said it had no doubt about the authenticity of the items.

Scientists cut the parts – plus another finger and a vertebrae – from Galileo’s body in 1737, almost 100 years after he died.

So… in honor of Galileo (and inconsistent with the title of this post), a music video. I never quite got the “degrees of separation” bit–but I am friends with the sister (and her husband) of the author and performer of this particular “Galileo”. (I’d embed it, but they have requested not to. Go. Click. It’s a few years old, but it’s worth it.)


  1. says

    Apart from the obvious fact that the generous donor has taken the phrase “give someone the finger” very literally, my only comment is:This tale of dead extremitiesTravelling through centuriesDemonstrates and clearly provesWhat’s meant by: “Nonetheless, it moves”

  2. says

    Those were great!! Thanks! I watched a few more of both Mnozil Brass and the Indigo Girls videos while I was there. Until my computer started overheating. Every time I watch the Muppet one, though, I dissolve into giggles as soon as Animal sings, "MAMMA! Mamma! Mamma?"

  3. says

    Yeah, I must admit I laughed my butt off–I was wondering how the Muppets would get by with "just killed a man…. put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger, now he's dead". Mama? Mama! MAMMA!!!

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