Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

Galileo Galilei

1564 Galileo Galilei was born at Pisa, Italy. He was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism.[2] He did not have a happy childhood. His father was a musician and a trader moved to Florence in order to take care of the big family. Galileo attended a Jesuit school.

1581 Being 17 years old, he enrolled to University in Pisa to study medicine even if he did not like anatomy. He became keen on Maths and on physical experiences. He was by nature quarrelsome and he suddenly gave up to medicine, without a degree and became teacher in Florence, then in Padova (after his father’s death). He taught young people Maths and invented a lot of “jinks” among which a military compass. He had a lover, Marina, who gave him many illegitimate children.

Through his researches Galileo became the first modern scientist. Regarding his inventions, he had a space near his house in Padova where he had scientific tools: slide rule, geometric compass or his famous telescope (in fact, a primitive telescope).

The great Italian physicist and astronomer of Renaissance is one of the founders of science of Mechanics. He discovered “Law of Inertia”, “Law of Falling Bodies”, “Law of Motion Composition”. As an astronomer he discovered, helped by his telescope, the mountains on the Moon, stellar nature of Milky Way, four satellites of Jupiter, spots from the Sun and its rotation on its axis, phases of Venus. During his old age he discovered zig-zag motion of the Moon.

1609 He made the telescope but he recognized that “a certain one, Flemish had done it” before him but it was about Dutch Hans Lippershey, glasses manufacturer who had created the first telescope in 1608. But Galileo perfected it and so he discovered the first the mountains on the Moon. It increased 30-fold the objects. The telescope was made of a converging lens (the objective) and a diverging one (the eyeglass) which are arranged so that the second lens focus coincides with the first eyeglass focus.

1632 He wrote his masterpiece, “Dialogue about the Two Main Planetary Systems”. It was very successful but Inquisition (Catholic Church’s authority) forbade the book and Galileo Galilei was called to Rome, jailed and tortured. Sent in front of the Court as a follower of Copernicus’ law (the Earth does not stay fixed, in the center of Universe, as Greek astronomer Ptolemy had told, but it revolves ,like all the other planets, around the Sun), he was forced after more humiliation to withdraw the idea about solar system in order to save his life. Being old, sick, and tortured he could die like all heretics that austere Inquisition quickly sent on the stake to be burned alive. It is said that Galileo was shitless scared by Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) who was burnt on the stake at Rome because of heresy.

In the end, the Church forbade and burned “Dialogues” and disgraced the scholar in order not to make him a martyr. But he was jailed on better conditions. After he had found out the verdicts, it seems that he said: “Eppur, si muove” (And yet it moves).

1642 After release he blinded because of web eye; he died in his house in Florence, being under arrest.

1992 It is interesting that after 350 years, Pope John Paul II, who had been Polish archbishop at Krakow, recognized that Galileo was not guilty and he was right: “The Earth moves!” more than this, Galileo spacecraft (bearing the name of Italian scientist) arrived to Jupiter, studying the planet whose natural satellites had been observed for the first time by Galileo, 385 years ago.[1]




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