Among the great figures that have shaped the scientific revolution during the Renaissance we can find the figure of Galileo Galilei who, and not for nothing, is considered the father of modern science . Where did Galileo live?
This Italian mathematician, physicist and scientist has contributed enormously to science, in addition to having changed the paradigm about what the position of the Earth was in the Universe, something that made the ecclesiastical authorities very bad.
Next, in this biography of Galileo Galilei, we will discover the great genius that this researcher was , a firm believer that the world could be explained by means of mathematics, a discipline that he always applied in his numerous experiments without which our world would be very different. .
Short biography of Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei was an Italian physicist, mathematician and astronomer who devoted most of his life to teaching and researching how nature worked, that is, the laws that governed the Universe. Through his observations, findings and experiments, the Italian scientist laid the foundations of modern astronomy and physics , as well as being considered one of the fathers of modern science. Let’s start with the first years of his life, and then progress towards his maturity as a scientist. Where did Galileo live?
Childhood and early years
Galileo Galilei was born in the Italian city of Pisa, then the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, on February 15, 1564 . He grew up in a family of merchants who, until he was 10 years old, were personally dedicated to the formation of the young Galileo. However, once he had reached that age, the family had to emigrate to Florence and since they could not take care of Galileo, they left their education in the care of a neighbor.
His neighbor was a very religious man, who considered it appropriate for the boy to enter a convent. When Galileo’s father found out about this, he did not take it well at all, since it happened that he had rather little religious.
He decided to remove the young man from the convent and, years later, in 1581 ordered him to enroll at the University of Pisa to study medicine. Galileo spent four years enrolled in that career, but it did not arouse great interest in him and he ended up dropping out at the age of 21, without receiving the title.
Although his hobby was not medicine, this did not mean that he was not interested in the highest knowledge at all, but rather the opposite. The young Galileo Galilei had a great interest in mathematics , which were to blame for not having invested enough hours of study in the practice of medicine. With the passage of time, mathematics would end up giving way to its true vocation: physics.
In his early twenties, Galileo began conducting experiments in mechanics, something that did not go unnoticed by various teachers . His self-taught knowledge in mathematics was so magnificent that, with only 25 years, he won a position as professor of mathematics at the same University of Pisa. Later, in 1592, Galileo moved to Padua and began working as a professor at the university of that city, dedicating himself to teaching disciplines such as astronomy, mechanics and geometry. Where did Galileo live?
His stay in Padua would be a prosperous time. In the 18 years that he was in that city, leaving in 1610, it would be the period in which he would make most of his discoveries. Despite the long shadow of the Holy Inquisition looming across Europe, the city of Padua was a place far from religious repression, with which Galileo was able to enjoy relative freedom of thought and opinion, as well as being able to do all kinds of of experiments.
While in Padua he established the law that explained the accelerated movement of objects , observed the stars, checked the operation of the water pump, created the forerunner of the thermometer, studied magnetism … In fact, one of the peak moments of his professional career It happened there, in 1609, the year in which he perfected the telescope and was able to observe the night sky in a way that no one had ever achieved before, and obtaining the findings that allowed him to question the geocentric theory.
Heliocentric theory and visit to Rome
Thanks to his improvement of the Galileo Galilei telescope, he would obtain enough data to dare to question one of the main beliefs inherited from the Middle Ages: the geocentric theory , or in other words, the Earth is the center of the Universe.
Through his observations he concluded that the Sun was the center of the galaxy and not our planet, and he did so using the scientific method, not based on his beliefs or based on unsubstantiated assumptions. Where did Galileo live?
In turn, as the Earth was not the center of the Universe, our planet was moving. Thus Galileo confirmed the theory of Nicolás Copernicus that he had formulated years ago in which he himself said that the Earth was not the center of everything . Heliocentrism was given strength. His observations with the telescope helped him to show that the celestial bodies did not revolve around the Earth, but that the planets revolved around the Sun.
In 1611 he traveled to the papal capital, Rome, with the intention of presenting his revolutionary findings . Rejecting the model that had hitherto been widely accepted in Renaissance society attracted the attention of many scientists and, also, the rejection of most ecclesiastical authorities. To affirm that the Earth was not the center of everything was to attempt against one of the fundamental pillars of the Church and the Christian religion.
The censorship was immediate and in 1616 the Holy Inquisition forbade Galileo to defend, disseminate, teach and support the heliocentric theory. Despite the repression against his science, Galileo continued researching and developing his studies, as well as publishing works. To circumvent censorship instead of “defending” heliocentrism, he presented this idea as a hypothesis , with which, technically, he was not defending it, but explaining it. An intelligent and subtle nuance that allowed him to continue publishing for a while. Where did Galileo live?
Condemnation and death
Decades passed and, perhaps a little fed up with having to present a scientific fact as a mere hypothesis, in 1632 he published a work in which he openly defended the heliocentric theory: Dialogues on the world’s two greatest systems . This time the Inquisition soon realized and began to investigate this case as heresy . A year later, at the age of 69 Galileo was tried in Rome for breach of the censorship of 1616, treating him as a crime and threatening to be tortured.
Galileo Galilei ended up being forced to deny the heliocentric theory and its findings. After rejecting his ideas, his sentence was reduced to house arrest which, although unjust, was preferable to being tortured with the most ingenious inquisitorial devices. Legend has it that, while leaving the court, he whispered “Eppur si muove”, (“However, it moves”), alluding that due to much censorship, persecution and denial of the facts, the Earth would continue to move as he had observed.
His house arrest lasted from 1633 to 1638, the year in which he became blind. The Holy Inquisition had a bit of Christian charity when they saw that Galileo Galilei could no longer see and agreed to have him move to a home near the sea.
Finally, on January 8, 1642, at the age of 77, the scientist died . He died rejected by his followers who did not forgive him surrendering to the inquisitorial pressure and seen as a heretic by the Holy Church, an institution which recognized the error of having condemned him in 1992. Better late than never. Where did Galileo live?
Contributions to science by Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei firmly believed that everything that happened in nature could be explained through mathematical language . Thanks to his mathematical knowledge and the way in which he applied it, Galileo managed to make the world see that without numbers the human being would never be able to understand how the Universe works. With his numbers and developing the scientific method, the Italian scientist overthrew several of the beliefs that were still widespread in the Renaissance mind.
Observing the night sky through his telescope he showed that the Sun was the center of the solar system and that the Earth, unlike what was thought at the time, revolved around it. Thus, he tried to show that the classical theory of geocentrism was not true and yes, although with its limitations, the heliocentric one was. This find, along with others, made Galileo Galilei one of the most important figures of the 1500s, turning the world from dark and medieval to bright and Renaissance.
In addition, he was a great man of science who came to confront the Holy Church in order to defend his scientific findings . As much as religion wants to look the other way or deny a finding, facts are facts, and no unfounded belief or assumption can change them.
Next we will see the main contributions to science made by this Italian scientist, considered the father of modern science. Where did Galileo live?
1. Scientific method
Galileo Galilei is not considered one of the fathers of modern science because, in fact, he could be considered the father of modern science , since it is he who we must thank for the development of the scientific method.
2. Heliocentric theory
The heliocentric theory of Galileo Galilei was what made him have to face in front of the courts of the Inquisition. This contribution is considered the definitive moment in the divorce between the Church and Science .
With his observations Galileo gave force to the Copernican theory, which defended that the Earth revolved around the Sun and not vice versa. This theory was one of the greatest scientific revolutions in history since it broke with the belief that man was the center of the Universe .
It can also be said that Galileo was wrong in thinking that the Sun was the center of the Galaxy. It was indeed the center of the Solar System, but today we know that the Sun orbits other larger celestial objects and that its position in the Milky Way is rather peripheral. Where did Galileo live?
3. Invention of the telescope
Technically, he was not the one who invented the telescope from scratch, since there were already other similar objects with lenses that allowed objects to be seen larger. However, it was the ingenuity of Galileo Galilei that allowed these gadgets to improve , creating the first telescope as we know it today, an instrument that could enlarge celestial bodies up to 30 times.
4. Observations in the sky
Thanks to the development of his Galileo telescope, he was able to observe the sky like no one else had done before. He was the first to observe the craters of the Moon, the sunspots, the four largest satellites of Jupiter, the phases of Venus and other astronomical phenomena and bodies. He was also the first to reveal that there were more stars in the Universe than could be seen with the naked eye . Where did Galileo live?
5. Laws of motion
Galileo Galilei served as inspiration and, in addition, was the precursor of the laws of motion, which would be postulated several years later by the English physicist and mathematician Isaac Newton. Galileo observed that all objects accelerated at the same rate when falling from the same height, regardless of how big or heavy they were . From that, he concluded that forces were the cause of movement, with which, if no force was applied to an object, it did not have to move.
6. Development of mathematics
In his youth, Galileo Galilei was fond of mathematics and considered that they could explain the laws of how the world worked. Mathematics was a fundamental tool to understand nature since the world was ruled by numbers.
He was one of the first scientists who based his research on mathematics, using numbers as tools to analyze and understand the phenomena that occurred in nature .
7. Forerunner of the thermometer
Galileo Galilei is also credited with creating the forerunner of the thermometer, called a thermoscope. It was a fairly rudimentary tool in our eyes but complex for its time that was used to measure temperature.