Biography on The Astronomer Galileo and His Contribution to Astronomy | My Paper Hub
Majority of present day astronomers would tell you...
Majority of present day astronomers would tell you that Galileo
Galilei is the most influential person in the field of astronomy to have ever
lived. He used scientific methods to find out how the universe works and with
his contribution to observational astronomy, he earned his position as one of
the greatest scientists in the world and also the father of science (Shuttleworth).
Galileo Galilei was born in Italy a place known as Pisa, on 15th
February 1564 to Vincenzo Galilei and Giulia Ammannati. Vincenzo Galilei was a
famous musician, music theories, and an Italian lutenist. It is in the year
1574 that Galileo’s family moved to Florence where he started his formal
education at Camaldolese monastery. In his growing up, he aspired to take up
the priesthood, but his father wanted him to study medicine as it would reap
financial benefits for his son in the future. Following his father’s wishes,
Galileo took up medicine at the University of Pisa taking a degree in medicine.
At the university, however, Galileo had a change of heart on the career path to
take. The change was influenced by two incidents. The first one was in 1581
when he noticed for the first time that a chandelier took almost the same time
to go back to its first position despite swinging in small and large arcs. The
second event was when he accidentally attended a geometry lecture. He realized
that he wanted to do something different other than medicine and therefore
convinced his father to allow him to take up Mathematics and natural philosophy
degree ("Galileo Biography").
After the university, Galileo set out to create a thermoscope
which is the earlier version of the thermometer in use today. He also published
a book highlighting his work on Hydrostatic balance and named it “The Little
Balance.” It is through this book that Galileo became known among scholars at
that time. Galileo also took up an instructor job at Accademia Delle Arti del
Disegno in Florence where he taught perspective and chiaroscuro. The job was to
help support himself as he studies Disegno which made him more interested in
city’s artistic traditions. He also developed an immense interest in the
Renaissance artists ("Galileo Galilei Biography").
In 1589, Galileo was promoted to chair the Faculty of Mathematics
at the University of Pisa. It is during this time that he conducted his widely
known experiment of dropping objects of different weights from the peak of the
Leaning Tower. Through this experiment, Galileo was able to counteract
Aristotle’s theory that the speed of a falling object is directly proportional
to its weight. The outcome of the research was written in a paper titled Du
Motu (On Motion). Due to rejecting Aristotle’s claims, Galileo gained an
unpopular status in the society. His stand led him to lose position at the
University of Pisa, but through the help of his patrons, he was able to secure
the chair of mathematics at the University of Padua where he served for
eighteen years ("Galileo Galilei Biography").
At the University of Padua, Galileo taught geometry, astronomy,
and mechanics to young students. The position at the University of Padua came
at a crucial time when his father passed away, and he had to step up and head
the family which meant more responsibility and more money. The university
salary was not enough; hence, Galileo took up a teaching job at a privately
owned boarding school where he earned extra coins to support the family (Shuttleworth).
It is during his time at the University of Padua that he made the
groundbreaking discoveries that have put him the books of scientists today in
the fields of practical applied science and pure fundamental science. Galileo
discovered an instrument in Netherlands that magnified distant objects and made
them seem closer. Galileo mastered the object which led him to make an improved
version of the discovery. He learned the art of lens grinding which aided in
producing a powerful telescope. Galileo presented this to Venetian Senate which
was impressed by his invention and rewarded him by doubling his salary and
increased his tenure to a lifetime. Galileo increasingly bettered the
instrument that it could magnify up to 20 times. The telescope helped him in
having a clear vision of the moon. It is also through this tool that uneven
surface and the Moon’s rocky face came to be known ("Galileo Galilei
Galileo in 1610 discovered the moon revolving around the Jupiter.
In addition, he claimed that there is an enormous amount of starts on the
galaxy that are not visible to the naked eyes. He discovered that planet Venus
goes through phases like the moon does and also the difference in appearance
for the planet Saturn. The discoveries were written in a book titled Sidereus
Nuncius’ (The Starry Messenger). Galileo dedicated the book to the grand duke
of his native Tuscany Cosimo II de Medici. The duke in return and also due to
the ground breaking earth discovery made by Galileo rewarded him with an
appointment as mathematician and philosopher of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. His
discovery dismissed Aristotelian cosmology and favored Copernicus’ theory which
says that the sun is the center of the galaxy and that the earth is a planet
among many others that revolve around the sun (Shuttleworth).
The discoveries that Galileo made and the books that he published
formed a basis of the present-day astronomy. It is objects like a telescope
that constitute the basis for new technology in astronomy. The contributions
are the things that made him a legend and among the many things named after him
are Asteroid 697, the Galileo spacecraft, Galilean transformation and the
Galilean moons of Jupiter. He has over time been honored in novels, movies and
plays that depict his life and his scientific philosophy ("Galileo
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