This is the full transcript of Professor Brian Keating’s TEDx Talk titled ‘Going to the Ends of the Earth to Discover the Beginning of Time’ at TEDxSanDiego event.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Going to the ends of the Earth to discover the beginning of time by Brian Keating at TEDxSanDiego
Brian Keating – Professor of physics
This is Stephen Hawking, arguably, the most famous scientist of our generation. Yet, what if I told you that Stephen Hawking was imprisoned for heresy. Thought crimes, crimes against the state. Clearly, this would be seemingly ridiculous that such a thing could happen. But this is exactly what happened to the greatest scientific genius of his age: Galileo.
381 years ago, Galileo was the first person to give evidence that we are not the only planet in our Solar System, and we are not, in fact, the center of the Solar System nor are we the center of the Universe. In fact, the Earth was just one of many planets. He did that by observing the planet Jupiter. And through a very revolutionary instrument called the refracting telescope, he was able to glimpse that Jupiter had moons, and these moons orbited not around the Earth, but around Jupiter itself. This was incontrovertible proof that the Earth was not the center of the Solar System, which was effectively the universe back then. He did it all with an amazing scientific instrument, a revolutionary product, that as Steve Jobs would say, “just fits in your pocket,” the refracting telescope.
This is Galileo’s 450th birthday year, and tonight we’re going to throw him a little celebration party. Galileo discovered the moons of Jupiter, and in doing so, pricked our cosmic egos. He demonstrated that the Earth is not the center of it all. And tonight, I’m going to invite you to come along with me on a journey to the very bottom of the world, a journey which has the potential, perhaps, to make discoveries equal to the discoveries that Galileo made.