The Italian physicist was born is Pisa on 15 February 1564 (see appendix B). He was the first of seven children. Galileo was educated by a tutor and his father, a nobleman and well known for musical studies. At the age of 11 he was sent to a local monastery where he, like other children of noble people studied Greek, Latin, religion and music. Following his father’s wish, he continued his education, at the age of 17 he enrolled as a student of medicine at the University of Pisa in 1581. He showed little interest in medicine, it was at this time when mathematics captured his attention.
It was around one year after enrolling at the University of Pisa, he made the legendary discovery of the movement of pendulums (see appendix A), he proved his theory by conducting several experiments. It was about this time he began to question the respected teachings of Aristotle, particularly his theory on falling objects. He continued an independent study on science and mathematics, he finally convinced his father to allow him to abandon the study of medicine. Galileo withdrew from his course without a degree. In 1589 he was appointed as a lecturer of mathematics at the University of Pisa (see appendix B).
It was at this time that he disproved traditional theories of Aristotle; Galileo found that all objects fall at the same speed regardless of mass. After this discovery he was appointed chair of mathematics at the University of Padua, it was here that he claimed his fame. In 1597 he constructed a military compass witch brought him acclaim, it was astronomy and motion that established his reputation as a leading scientist. In 1609 Galileo perfected the telescope, he began to look into the sky, soon he disproved many conventional theories, such as the Earth orbits around the sun.
He published his findings in a book, which implied strong support for the copernician system, which was incredibly popular, this book brought international fame and controversy. He was offered a lifetime professorship at the University of Padua, he declined the offer, he later resigned and returned to Florence. Some theologians claimed that Copernicus, and therefore Galileo, was conflicting with the bible and the doctrines of the church about the order of creation. He was told to teach his findings only as theory not as truth. In 1615, Galileo’s book about his findings was banned by the church.
Galileo remained quiet for a few years until he published his next book, which compared the two models of the universe, although Galileo carefully presented the various claims in theoretical terms it was apparent he believed the Ptolmemaic- were all planets including the sun orbit the earth, was false. And the Copernician system- were all planets orbit the sun was true. Even though it received the church’s imprimaur it was later banned shortly after its publication. Galileo was summoned to Rome to answer to his inquisition to stand trial for heresy, the charge was ’did he defy the paper-ban of teaching the Copernician system’.
After a five-month trial he was found guilty and was sentenced to house arrest for the remainder of his life. As time went on, his popularity grew and noted figures such as John Milton went out of their way to visit him shortly before his death. Galileo worked solo on his experiments on his love of physics and mathematics, and in his later years as more of his family died he lived a lonely man for the last of years, and by 1637 he was totally blind. Galileo died on the night of January 8, 1642 in Arcetri.
He was buried at a private cemetery, approximately a century later and his remains were shifted to a fine tomb in the Cathedral Church. Unlike Copernicus or Kepler, he was not a systematic or a speculative thinker, preferring to base his work on a careful inquiry into the causes of natural philosophy. As indicated by his various inventions, he was also interested in applying his knowledge to practical problems. Galileo helped established the modern scientific method through his use of observation and experimentation. His work in mathematics, physics, and astronomy made him a leading figure of the early scientific revolution.