Golden Recursion Inc. logoGolden Recursion Inc. logo
Advanced Search
Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei

Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de' Galilei ( GAL-il-AY-oh GAL-il-AY-ee, -⁠EE-oh -⁠, Italian: [ɡaliˈlɛːo ɡaliˈlɛi]; 15 February 1564 - 8 January 1642), commonly referred to as Galileo, was an Italian astronomer, physicist and engineer, sometimes described as a polymath, from the city of Pisa, then part of the Duchy of Florence. Galileo has been cal...

Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de' Galilei (/ˌɡælɪˈleɪoʊ ˌɡælɪˈleɪi, -ˈliːoʊ -/ GAL-il-AY-oh GAL-il-AY-ee, -⁠EE-oh -⁠, Italian: [ɡaliˈlɛːo ɡaliˈlɛi]; 15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642), commonly referred to as Galileo, was an Italian astronomer, physicist and engineer, sometimes described as a polymath, from the city of Pisa, then part of the Duchy of Florence.[3] Galileo has been called the "father" of observational astronomy,[4] modern physics,[5][6] the scientific method,[7] and modern science.

Galileo studied speed and velocity, gravity and free fall, the principle of relativity, inertia, projectile motion and also worked in applied science and technology, describing the properties of pendulums and "hydrostatic balances".

Galileo studied speed and velocity, gravity and free fall, the principle of relativity, inertia, projectile motion and also worked in applied science and technology, describing the properties of pendulums and "hydrostatic balances". He invented the thermoscope and various military compasses, and used the telescope for scientific observations of celestial objects. His contributions to observational astronomy include telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, observation of the four largest satellites of Jupiter, observation of Saturn's rings, and analysis of lunar craters and sunspots. Galileo's championing of Copernican heliocentrism (Earth rotating daily and revolving around the sun) was met with opposition from within the Catholic Church and from some astronomers. The matter was investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, which concluded that heliocentrism was foolish, absurd, and heretical since it contradicted Holy Scripture. Galileo later defended his views in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (1632), which appeared to attack Pope Urban VIII and thus alienated both the Pope and the Jesuits, who had both supported Galileo up until this point.[9] He was tried by the Inquisition, found "vehemently suspect of heresy", and forced to recant. He spent the rest of his life under house arrest.[12][13] During this time, he wrote Two New Sciences (1638), primarily concerning kinematics and the strength of materials, summarizing work he had done around forty years earlier.

Early life and family

Galileo was born in Pisa (then part of the Duchy of Florence), Italy, on 15 February 1564, the first of six children of Vincenzo Galilei, a lutenist, composer, and music theorist, and Giulia Ammannati, who had married in 1562. Galileo became an accomplished lutenist himself and would have learned early from his father a scepticism for established authority. Three of Galileo's five siblings survived infancy. The youngest, Michelangelo (or Michelagnolo), also became a lutenist and composer who contributed to Galileo's financial burdens for the rest of his life. Michelangelo was unable to contribute his fair share of their father's promised dowries to their brothers-in-law, who would later attempt to seek legal remedies for payments due. Michelangelo would also occasionally have to borrow funds from Galileo to support his musical endeavours and excursions. These financial burdens may have contributed to Galileo's early desire to develop inventions that would bring him additional income. When Galileo Galilei was eight, his family moved to Florence, but he was left under the care of Muzio Tedaldi for two years. When Galileo was ten, he left Pisa to join his family in Florence and there he was under the tutelage of Jacopo Borghini.[15] He was educated, particularly in logic, from 1575 to 1578 in the Vallombrosa Abbey, about 30 km southeast of Florence

Name

Galileo tended to refer to himself only by his given name. At the time, surnames were optional in Italy, and his given name had the same origin as his sometimes-family name, Galilei. Both his given and family name ultimately derive from an ancestor, Galileo Bonaiuti, an important physician, professor, and politician in Florence in the 15th century.[21][22] Galileo Bonaiuti was buried in the same church, the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence, where about 200 years later, Galileo Galilei was also buried When he did refer to himself with more than one name, it was sometimes as Galileo Galilei Linceo, a reference to his being a member of the Accademia dei Lincei, an elite pro-science organization in Italy. It was common for mid-sixteenth-century Tuscan families to name the eldest son after the parents' surname.[24] Hence, Galileo Galilei was not necessarily named after his ancestor Galileo Bonaiuti. The Italian male given name "Galileo" (and thence the surname "Galilei") derives from the Latin "Galilaeus", meaning "of Galilee", a biblically significant region in Northern Israel.[25][21] Because of that region, the adjective galilaios (Greek Γαλιλαῖος, Latin Galilaeus, Italian Galileo), which means "Galilean", was used in antiquity (particularly by emperor Julian) to refer to Christ and his followers. The biblical roots of Galileo's name and surname were to become the subject of a famous pun.[27] In 1614, during the Galileo affair, one of Galileo's opponents, the Dominican priest Tommaso Caccini, delivered against Galileo a controversial and influential sermon. In it he made a point of quoting Acts 1:11, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?" (in the Latin version found in the Vulgate: Viri Galilaei, quid statis aspicientes in caelum?). Children

Despite being a genuinely pious Roman Catholic,[29] Galileo fathered three children out of wedlock with Marina Gamba. They had two daughters, Virginia (born 1600) and Livia (born 1601), and a son, Vincenzo (born 1606).[30]

Due to their illegitimate birth, Galileo considered the girls unmarriageable, if not posing problems of prohibitively expensive support or dowries, which would have been similar to Galileo's previous extensive financial problems with two of his sisters.[31] Their only worthy alternative was the religious life. Both girls were accepted by the convent of San Matteo in Arcetri and remained there for the rest of their lives Virginia took the name Maria Celeste upon entering the convent. She died on 2 April 1634, and is buried with Galileo at the Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence. Livia took the name Sister Arcangela and was ill for most of her life. Vincenzo was later legitimised as the legal heir of Galileo and married Sestilia Bocchineri. Career as a scientist

Although Galileo seriously considered the priesthood as a young man, at his father's urging he instead enrolled in 1580 at the University of Pisa for a medical degree.[34] He was influenced by the lectures of Girolamo Borro and Francesco Buonamici of Florence.[20] In 1581, when he was studying medicine, he noticed a swinging chandelier, which air currents shifted about to swing in larger and smaller arcs. To him, it seemed, by comparison with his heartbeat, that the chandelier took the same amount of time to swing back and forth, no matter how far it was swinging. When he returned home, he set up two pendulums of equal length and swung one with a large sweep and the other with a small sweep and found that they kept time together. It was not until the work of Christiaan Huygens, almost one hundred years later, that the tautochrone nature of a swinging pendulum was used to create an accurate timepiece. Up to this point, Galileo had deliberately been kept away from mathematics, since a physician earned a higher income than a mathematician. However, after accidentally attending a lecture on geometry, he talked his reluctant father into letting him study mathematics and natural philosophy instead of medicine. He created a thermoscope, a forerunner of the thermometer, and, in 1586, published a small book on the design of a hydrostatic balance he had invented (which first brought him to the attention of the scholarly world). In 1589, he was appointed to the chair of mathematics in Pisa. In 1591, his father died, and he was entrusted with the care of his younger brother Michelagnolo. In 1592, he moved to the University of Padua where he taught geometry, mechanics, and astronomy until 1610.[39] During this period, Galileo made significant discoveries in both pure fundamental science (for example, kinematics of motion and astronomy) as well as practical applied science (for example, strength of materials and pioneering the telescope). His multiple interests included the study of astrology, which at the time was a discipline tied to the studies of mathematics and astronomy

Timeline

February 15, 1564
Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa.

Patents

Further Resources

Title
Author
Link
Type
Date

References

Golden logo
By using this site, you agree to our Terms & Conditions.