"Galileo Galilei in front of the Inquisition in the Vatican 1632." Joseph Nicolas Robert-Fleury
Sunday, December 6, 2009
ACROSTIC, Puzzle by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon, edited by Will Shortz
This is a tough but rewarding acrostic -- the quotation is from Complexity, A Guided Tour by Melanie Mitchell.
"The author, a denizen of the community of complexity researchers, provides an engaging introduction to the many interdisciplinary issues surrounding attempts at understanding how fantastic holistic attributes can arise from teems of underwhelming components -- how minds arise from simple neurons and cagey ant colonies from embarrassingly thick-headed individual ants. If Mitchell's book were required reading for undergraduate freshmen, I would anticipate a large surge in the number of students interested not only in complexity, but interested in science more generally. And not just more students, but students more exercised about what may lie ahead as they attempt to come to grips with nature." -- Quarterly Review of Biology
The quotation: GALILEO DID NOT HAVE THE SOPHISTICATED EXPERIMENTAL DEVICES WE HAVE TODAY HE TIMED THE SWINGING OF A PENDULUM BY COUNTING HIS HEARTBEATS AND MEASURED THE EFFECTS OF GRAVITY BY DROPPING OBJECTS OFF THE TOWER OF PISA
The author’s name and the title of the work: MELANIE MITCHELL COMPLEXITY
The defined words: A. Secret agent resourceful with a Swiss Army knife, MACGYVER; B. Sir Arthur Stanley EDDINGTON, astrophysicist who explicated general relativity; C. Responsibility of a gaffer, LIGHTING; D. Figure of speech exemplified by “Hello darkness, my old friend”, APOSTROPHE; E. Cry from Incitatus to Caligula, NEIGH; F. Product with the slogan “There’s an app for that”, IPHONE; G. Welsh festival of poetry and song, EISTEDDFOD; H. Do something to promote evolution?, MUTATE; I. Native of Moscow, IDAHOAN; J. Ill-fated lover of myth, THISBE; K. Signs of neglect or disuse, COBWEBS; L. Cocky, flamboyant expert, HOTSHOT; M. Lamb given to ruminating, say, ESSAYIST; N. Court official who may call out (2 wds.), LINE JUDGE; O. Memory bank malfunction, LAPSE; P. Wearing a hoodlike cap, COIFFED; Q. Elocute, spout, ORATE; R. Shakespearean character who was “from his mother’s womb untimely ripp’d”, MACDUFF; S. Utensils of a tinny sort, PEWTER; T. Turned the bow toward the wind, LUFFED; U. Peak known to locals as Chomolungma, EVEREST; V. Yellowish in hue, XANTHIC; W. Wall climber (2 wds.), IVY VINE; X. Where oxen walk along a canal, TOWPATH; Y. South American shrub whose leaves are brewed for a hot beverage drunk from a gourd (2 wds.), YERBA MATE.
The quotation in context -- "Galileo was a pioneer of experimental, empirical science, along with his predecessor Copernicus and his contemporary Kepler. Copernicus established that the motion of the planets is centered not about the Earth but about the sun. (Galileo got into big trouble with the Catholic Church for promoting this view and was eventually forced to publicly renounce it; only in 1992 did the Church officially admit that Galileo had been unfairly persecuted.) In the early 1600s, Kepler discovered that the motion of the planets is not circular but rather elliptical, and he discovered laws describing this elliptical motion.
"Whereas Copernicus and Kepler focused their research on celestial motion, Galileo studied motion not only in the heavens but also here on Earth by experimenting with the objects one now finds in elementary physics courses: pendula, balls rolling down inclined plans, falling objects, light reflected by mirrors. Galileo did not have the sophisticated experimental devices we have today: he is said to have turned the swinging of a pendulum by counting his heartbeats and to have measured the effects of gravity by dropping objects off the leaning tower of Pisa. These now-classic experiments revolutionized ideas about motion. In particular, Galileo’s studies directly contradicted Aristotle’s long-held principles of motion. Against common sense, rest is not the natural state of objects; rather it takes force to stop a moving object. Heavy and light objects in a vacuum fall at the same rate. And perhaps most revolutionary of all, laws of motion on the Earth could explain some aspects of motions in the heavens. With Galileo, the scientific revolution, with experimental observations at its core was definitively launched." -- Complexity, A Guided Tour
For Galileo’s moment on the Moon, click HERE.
Click on image to enlarge.
Puzzle available on the internet at
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