Monday, 6 February 2017 — 12:00 noon — GAR 4.100 — joint meeting with the Institute for Historical Studies

Alberto A. Martínez, UT

“Roasted and Broiled Alive: The Inquisition, Bruno, Galileo, and the Spirit that Moves the Earth”

In 1600, Giordano Bruno was condemned by the Inquisition in Rome and was burned alive for heretical beliefs, including his belief that the Holy Spirit is a universal spirit that vivifies, nourishes, and moves the Earth. Galileo secretly held a similar belief. I discuss how the advocates of Copernicus linked the Earth’s motion to the ancient pagan belief in the universal spirit. In a manuscript that remains unpublished, Melchior Inchofer, the Jesuit who wrote the most damning reports against Galileo, leading to his condemnation in 1633, accused the Copernicans of the heresy of the universal spirit.


Dr. Martínez is a professor of history of science at UT Austin. After earning a Master’s degree at NYU, he earned his Ph.D. in History of Science at the University of Minnesota in 2001. He has held fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution, the Dibner Institute at MIT, the Center for Einstein Studies at Boston University, and Caltech. His most recent book is The Cult of Pythagoras: Math and Myths (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012), on the evolution of myths in the history of mathematics.