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Transcript of Galileo Galilei
italian polymath, astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher, and mathematician.
Galileo Galilei was born on February 15, 1564, in Pisa in the Duchy of Florence, Italy. He was the first of six children born to Vincenzo Galilei, a well-known musician and music theorist, and Giulia Ammannati. In 1574, the family moved to Florence, where Galileo started his formal education at the Camaldolese monastery in Vallombrosa.
In 1583, Galileo entered the University of Pisa to study medicine. Armed with high intelligence and talent, he soon became fascinated with many subjects, particularly mathematics and physics. While at Pisa, Galileo was exposed to the Aristotelian view of the world, then the leading scientific authority and the only one sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church. At first, Galileo supported this view, like any other intellectual of his time, and was on track to be a university professor. However, due to financial difficulties, Galileo left the university in 1585 before earning his degree.
Galileo continued to study mathematics, supporting himself with minor teaching positions. During this time he began his two-decade study on objects in motion and published The Little Balance, describing the hydrostatic principles of weighing small quantities, which brought him some fame. This gained him a teaching post at the University of Pisa, in 1589. There Galileo conducted his experiments with falling objects and produced his manuscript Du Motu (On Motion), a departure from Aristotelian views about motion and falling objects. Galileo developed an arrogance about his work, and his strident criticisms of Aristotle left him isolated among his colleagues. In 1592, his contract with the University of Pisa was not renewed.
Galileo quickly found a new position at the University of Padua, teaching geometry, mechanics and astronomy. The appointment was fortunate, for his father had died in 1591, leaving Galileo entrusted with the care of his younger brother Michelagnolo. During his 18-year tenure at Padua, he gave entertaining lectures and attracted large crowds of followers, further increasing his fame and his sense of mission
In 1604, Galileo published The Operations of the Geometrical and Military Compass, revealing his skills with experiments and practical technological applications. He also constructed a hydrostatic balance for measuring small objects. These developments brought him additional income and more recognition. That same year, Galileo refined his theories on motion and falling objects, and developed the universal law of acceleration, which all objects in the universe obeyed. Galileo began to express openly his support of the Copernican theory that the earth and planets revolved around the sun. This challenged the doctrine of Aristotle and the established order set by the Catholic Church.
In July 1609, Galileo learned about a simple telescope built by Dutch eyeglass makers, and he soon developed one of his own. In August, he demonstrated it to some Venetian merchants, who saw its value for spotting ships and gave Galileo salary to manufacture several of them. However, Galileo’s ambition pushed him to go further, and in the fall of 1609 he made the fateful decision to turn his telescope toward the heavens. In March 1610, he published a small booklet, The Starry Messenger, revealing his discoveries that the moon was not flat and smooth, but a sphere with mountains and craters. He found Venus had phases like the moon, proving it rotated around the sun. He also discovered Jupiter had revolving moons, which didn’t revolve around the earth.
Death and Legacy
Galileo died in Arcetri, near Florence, Italy, on January 8, 1642, after suffering from a fever and heart palpitations. But in time, the Church couldn’t deny the truth in science. In 1758, it lifted the ban on most works supporting Copernican theory, and by 1835 dropped its opposition to heliocentrism altogether.
In 1600, Galileo met Marina Gamba, a Venetian woman who gave him 3 kids. daughters Virginia and Livia, and son Vincenzo. He never married Marina, possibly due to financial worries and possibly fearing his illegitimate children would threaten his social standing.