By Zeyad Masroor Khan

Justus Sustermans - Portrait of Galileo Galilei, 1636Why do you believe the Earth is not flat but round, sort of like a rotten orange somewhat flattened at the poles? That sounds absurd.
Mate, it wasn’t me. Nick Copernicus proposed it. Nick never wrote down his theories as his job at the Catholic Church might have been in trouble. Why do you guys think workplace pressure is a modern thing? I actually just fought for his theory, for which they put me on house arrest for eight years. It’s like cops bust you for talking about algebra loudly on the subway.

Einstein, a 20th-century physicist, calls you his favourite scientist. That must inflate your ego a lot. Who do you think is the coolest scientist on Earth?
My favourite scientists are the ones who deny climate change, think a peacock gets impregnated from tears, and blame jeans-wearing women for earthquakes. They bring much-needed humour in our lives, which makes life worth living. Coming from a dead man, you ought to take it seriously. Have you watched “South Park”?

I think it’s stupid. You left your studies in medicine midway to become, umm, a monk. How bad a career move is that?
I would call it a very, very bad move, but who doesn’t make blunders? By the way, I invented an automatic tomato picker, a pocket comb that doubled as an eating utensil and a candle-and-mirror combination to reflect light through a building. I also made the world’s first working thermometer. What have you done, wise guy?

I am the one asking questions here. Was it difficult to be in a live-in relationship in the 16th century?
It was not that tough, actually. When you are a genius scholar like me, you can get away with a lot of things even though they were burning guys at stake for random things. Marriage is hogwash anyway. You don’t need to be a scientist to understand that.

Any regrets in life?
I lived on my own terms and didn’t give in to idiocy even when the whole damned world was supporting it. No regrets in life as such, but quite a few after my death. One of my fans snipped a finger from my dead body during my reburial. The Church technically still considers me a heretic.

I feel for you. I also pity you for having a similar-sounding first name and surname. If there was a guy called ‘Galileo Galilei’ at high school, would you’ve bullied him for this?
Aah! You think you are cool? Let me show you. I have called the police and told them I saw you having a beef burger. They must be on their way. This interview is over. Hope you had fun.


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