Galileo Galilei

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Childhood

Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa, Italy on February 15, 1564. His father wanted him to study medicine. At age eleven, Galileo was sent off to study in a Jesuit monastery. After four years, Galileo announced that he wanted to be a monk, so Galileo was hastily withdrawn from the monastery. In 1581, at the age of 17, he entered the University of Pisa to study medicine, as his father wished. Image Courtesy: www.history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk

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Childhood
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First Discovery

At age twenty, Galileo noticed a lamp swinging overhead. Curious to find out how long it took the lamp to swing back and forth. Galileo discovered that the period of each swing was exactly the same no matter how big or small the lamp was. The law of the pendulum, which would eventually be used to regulate clocks, made Galileo Galilei instantly famous. Image Courtesy: www.teachertech.rice.edu

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First Discovery
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Love for mathematics

Except for mathematics, Galileo Galilei was bored with university. Galileo was tutored full-time in mathematics by the mathematician of the Tuscan court. But Galileo left the University of Pisa without a degree. Image Courtesy: www.amazonaws.com

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Love for mathematics
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Appointment to the University of Pisa

Galileo started tutoring students in mathematics. But it was a lecture on literature that turned Galileo's fortunes. The Academy of Florence had been arguing over a 100-year-old controversy. What were the location, shape, and dimensions of Dante's Inferno (Italian for 'Hell')? Galileo mathematically deduced that Lucifer (The Devil) himself was 2,000 arm lengths long. The audience was impressed. Galileo received a three-year appointment to the University of Pisa, the same university that never granted him a degree. Image Courtesy: www.acapulcotraveller.info

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Appointment to the University of Pisa
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Practical observation

At the time that Galileo arrived at the University, some debate had started on one of Aristotle's laws of nature, that heavier objects fell faster than lighter objects. Galileo decided to try. Galileo climbed up to the top of the Tower of Pisa. carrying a variety of balls of varying size and weight, and dumped them off the top. They all landed at the base of the building at the same time. Image Courtesy: www.illustrationartgallery.com

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Practical observation
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Earning

By 1593, his father had died and he was desperate in need of money. A rudimentary thermometer and an ingenious device to raise water did not find buyers. He found greater success with a military compass that could be used to accurately aim cannonballs. A modified version for the common man, that could be used for land surveying ended up earning a fair amount of money. Image Courtesy: www.flickr.com

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Earning
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Invention of the telescope

In 1609, Galileo heard rumors that a Dutch spectacle maker had invented a device that made distant objects seem near at hand. Galileo determined to attempt to construct his own spyglass (Telescope). After a frantic 24 hours of experimentation, working only on instinct and bits of rumors, he built a telescope. He brought the telescope to Venice and demonstrated it to a highly impressed Senate. His salary was promptly raised, and he was honored. Image Courtesy: www.boingboing.net

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Invention of the telescope
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The Moon

One fall evening, Galileo trained his telescope on an object in the sky that all people at that time believed must be a perfect, smooth and polished - the Moon. To his astonishment, Galileo viewed a surface that was uneven, rough, and full of cavities and prominences. Image Courtesy: www.green-witch.com

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The Moon
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Copernican Theory

In 1610, he turned his telescope towards Jupiter, and found three bright stars near the planet. Galileo concluded that these were actually satellites. If there were satellites that didn't move around the Earth, wasn't it possible that the Earth was not the center of the universe? Couldn't the Copernican idea of the Sun at the center of the solar system be correct? Galileo published his findings in a small book titled ‘The Starry Messenger’. Image Courtesy: www.carennight.spruz.com

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Copernican Theory
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Contradicting the Bible

For saying that the Earth went around the Sun contradicted the teachings of the Church. At that time, only Church priests were allowed to interpret the Bible, or to define God's intentions. Some of the Church clergy started accusing him. Galileo was found innocent of all charges, and cautioned not to teach the Copernican system. Image Courtesy: www.cdn3.standard.net

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Contradicting the Bible
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Punishment

Instead of writing his arguments as a scientific paper, he found that it was much more interesting write it like a dialogue. Between three fictional characters, he wrote up a dialogue called 'Dialogue on the Two Great Systems of the World.' It was an immediate hit with the public, but not, of course, with the Church. The pope ordered the book banned, and also ordered the scientist to publicly confessed that he had been wrong and to be placed under house arrest. Image Courtesy: www.my.pclink.com

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Punishment
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Forced to accept

Galileo Galilei was 68 years old and sick. Threatened with torture, he publicly confessed that he had been wrong to have said that the Earth moves around the Sun.He was allowed to live in his house outside of Florence. Amazingly, he even published a book on force and motion although he had been blinded by an eye infection and was under house arrest. Image Courtesy: www.sott.net

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Forced to accept
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Galileo's name cleared

The Church eventually lifted the ban on Galileo's Dialogue in 1822. By that time, it was common knowledge that the Earth was not the center of the Universe. In 1992, the Vatican formally and publicly cleared Galileo of any wrong doing. Image Courtesy: www.ceron.jp

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Galileo's name cleared
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