English Listening Lesson

Listening level: 5
Audio file: 2:39 min
Story length: 347 words


Here is the listening file for this lesson.



Can one person change the world? Sometimes yes. That’s why Galileo is such a critical figure. He transformed our understanding of the world and taught us the importance of science.

Galileo’s story begins in Italy in 1609. He was a math teacher. One day, he heard about an invention. It was a telescope. It didn’t work especially well, so he modified the glass to increase the zoom power.

He gazed into space and studied stars, planets and moons. He watched them reveal orbits and discovered patterns. When he combined this knowledge with math, he created astronomy.

He wrote numerous books. His first one in 1610 was called Starry Messenger. It made him a celebrity. People loved reading about distant stars that were not visible.

Not everyone enjoyed his books. The Catholic Church thought they were dangerous. And that was a problem.

The Church was powerful. Disagreeing with or criticizing its rules, stories or philosophy was considered a serious offence. Opponents of the Church were injured or killed.

Church leaders declared Earth the center of the universe. How did they know that? Because of some sentences in the Bible. That was the proof.

Galileo had a different opinion. Earth was not the center. How did he know that? He developed theories based on scientific principles and knowledge.

In 1616, the Church issued a warning to Galileo. Stop writing books that say the sun is the center of the universe.

For years, Galileo agreed, but in 1632 he published another book. He used science to say some Church stories were inaccurate. Science, not the Bible, helps us understand the world.

Catholic leaders were angry. They forced Galileo to admit he was mistaken. If he refused, he would be tortured. Galileo agreed, but he did not believe it. The Church put him under house arrest for the rest of his life. He died ten years later in 1642.

Galileo wanted to tell the truth based on experiments and proof, not fear and stories. Because of his achievements, science was able to achieve great things in the years ahead. And it’s all thanks to a man with a telescope.

The image used in this post is believed to be in the public domain.

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