Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) is best known for his contribution to astronomy. He was the first to use the telescope to make detailed, accurate observations of the stars, which he used to confirm Copernicus's theory that the Earth orbits the sun. This brought him into conflict with the Roman Catholic Church, and he was placed under house arrest on charges of heresy.
Galileo also made advances in physics. Aristotle's belief that heavy objects fall faster than lighter ones was widely accepted until Galileo disproved it; however, the story that he did so by dropping weights from the top of the tower of Pisa is now thought to be apocryphal. Galileo's experiments in the motion of bodies laid some of the groundwork for Isaac Newton's breakthroughs in the field.
Latin for 'it is finished' or 'it is done'. In the Bible, Jesus said this as he neared death. This is the second time Henry says it: the first is on page 109, after he removes the piece of glass from Camilla's foot.
Jonas Salk (1914-1995) was an American medical researcher who discovered a vaccine for polio. From an early age he stood out as highly intelligent, rising above his poor background to attend City College in New York, a highly competitive public college which produced eight Nobel prize winners.
Zazen is a form of meditation central to Zen Buddhism, the aim of which is simply sitting, centering the self in the present. Theravada is the oldest surviving school of Buddhism, thought to be closest to the early form of this religion; vipassana is therefore one of the oldest techniques of meditation, a form which seeks insight into the nature of reality.
The Doppler effect is named after the Austrian physicist Christian Doppler (1803-1853) who explored the way a sound wave changes frequency from the point of view of an observer if the source of the sound moves. Thus a police car siren sounds higher in pitch when the car is moving towards an observer and lower in pitch when it is moving away. This is because sound waves are compressed when the car is approaching the observer and elongated when the car is retreating.