Galileo Galilei Galileo Galilei was an astronomer, physicist, mathematician, philosopher and inventor. He proved Aristotle wrong as a young scientist and made high powered instruments that were superior to even the most powerful telescopes. Many achievements of his were made without graduating and even more after being a professor. Galileo was born on February 15, 1564 in Pisa Tuscany as the oldest of six children.
His father was a musician who made important contributions to music theory. His family moved to Florence in the early 1570s. Galileo was supposed to study medicine at the University of Pisa, but instead decided on mathematics and philosophy against his father’s wishes. He wanted to teach Aristotelian philosophy (a tradition of philosophy that takes its defining inspiration from the works of Aristotle) and mathematics. Galileo left the university in 1585 without a degree. He taught private lessons in mathematical subjects in Florence and Siena.
During this time, he invented a new form of hydrostatic balance and wrote a manuscript called La bilancetta (The Little Balance). Galileo also began studies in motion, which he continued for the next two decades Galileo eventually decided to return to college, though not as a student. His application for the chair of mathematics at the University of Bologna was declined, but the Florentine Academy later asked him to deliver two lectures on the world of “Dante’s Inferno.” He also received recognition for his theorems in centers of gravity. He earned the chair of mathematics at his previous college, the University of Pisa, in 1589. One of Galileo’s most famous accomplishments was his experiment on the motion of falling objects. Even though he had planned to teach Aristotelian philosophy, Galileo challenged Aristotle’s views on the motion of falling objects. Galileo dropped two cannon balls of different weights from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and found they dropped at the same rate.
His gradual change from Aristotelian to Archimedean is shown in Galileo’s manuscript De motu (On Motion). After disproving Aristotle’s thoughts on gravity, Galileo also discovered the law of falling bodies and the parabola, both of which contradict the teachings of Aristotle. Financial security became a problem for Galileo. His attacks on Aristotle lost him the mathematics chair at the University of Pisa, but he got a new offer at the University of Padua. He taught there for eighteen years.
His financial problems caused him to take up tutoring in other subjects such as fortification. Galileo also had to sell a compass of his own design. Possibly because of his financial issues, he never married. However, he was involved with a Venetian woman who gave him two daughters and a son.
When Galileo heard of the telescope, a new invention from the Netherlands, he started to work on his own. He quickly surpassed others with his three-powered spyglass and eventually was able to make a telescope powerful enough to see the moon. He became one of the highest paid professors at the University of Padua for his eight-powered instrument. With an instrument powerful enough to see clearly, Galileo started to observe the sky above him. He noted the moon’s phases and disproved the through that the moon was smooth. In January 1610, Galileo discovered Jupiter.”The four largest and most well-known moons are called the Galilean moons”(The Planets and Their Moons). Galileo named each of the four moons after the Medici family.
He became a philosopher and a mathematician of the grand duke of Tuscany for his findings. Before leaving Padua, he discovered Saturn. He also discovered Venus while in the city of Florence. He observed the phases of Venus and sunspots, thereby confirming that the Sun rotates, and that the planets orbit around the Sun, not around the Earth. But Galileo thought that most planetary orbits are circular in shape, when in fact they are elliptical, as shown by Johannes Kepler.
Still, Galileo’s observations have confirmed Copernicus’ model of a heliocentric Solar System. They refuted the basic principles of Ptolemean cosmology, and put to rest Aristotle’s theory that the heavens were “perfect and unchanging”, which was supported by the Catholic Church. But the Church still allowed Galileo to conduct his research, as long as he did not openly advocate his findings. (Galileo’s Discoveries – 400th Anniversary)Galileo had come to an agreement with the Church about the information he could release, but it was ended in 1632, when Galileo published a book openly stating that the Earth moves around the sun. After the Roman Inquisition summoned Galileo and threatened to torture him, he admitted to writing the book that explained the information for both sides of the Sun centered universe, “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems.” “Nearly 70 at the time of his trial, Galileo lived his last nine years under comfortable house arrest, writing a summary of his early motion experiments that became his final great scientific work” (Galileo Galilei).
Galileo was pardoned and proclaimed right in 1744 by Popes Pius XII and John Paul II. Galileo was an iconic scientists who proved one crucial fact– that the Earth moves around the Sun. Though he was disagreed with by the Church in his time, he is now an extremely respected scientist. He constructed his own extremely powerful telescope on his own and made new discoveries regarding our solar system and the planets within it.