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Galileo Galilei Research Paper

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Galileo Galilei

This research paper is about Galileo Galilei. He is the man who for a long time in the history of the world has been considered the father of modern science. His main contributions are commonly referred to in the fields of physics, cosmology, astronomy, philosophy, and mathematics. Specifically, his most famous brainchild even little kids are aware of is the invention of the telescope. He first used it to view the heavenly bodies such as the moons, the planets, and the rings around the planet Saturn among others. He had an incredible flair for promoting himself and this helped him a great deal in earning a lot of friends. He always advocated for the heliocentric universe and this brought him close to the religious leaders between 1616 and 1633 (NutshellEdu). This proximity did nothing good to him as he was forced to recant from his beliefs and eventually put under house arrest for the remaining part of his life. Based on his lifestyle, deeds, convictions, and discoveries, it is possible to infer that Galileo Galilei was a great individual and a learned person in various fields.

Childhood Life

Galileo was the son of Vincenzo Galilei and Giulia Ammannati and the oldest child among other six offsprings that his parents had. The father was a lutenist, theorist, and music composer. Galileo hence had the chance to learn and acquire the relevant knowledge in playing the lute and later became a perfect lutenist too. Galileo always wanted to pursue the priesthood, but the father was interested in him being in the medical field for he felt that there was greater financial security in healthcare than any other sphere.

This, and not his own ambition, could well be the reason why he studied medicine for a degree which he obtained from the University of Pisa (NutshellEdu). Later in his life, he abandoned his practice as a physician to be engaged in the field of mathematics. This was a decision based on two main events. First, although his father did his best to safeguard Galileo from mathematics, a future genius did witness one single geometry lecture after which his life turned on its head. Later, in 1581, when he was in church and saw one of the chandeliers oscillating after being lit up, he realized that even though a chandelier was swinging and its large oscillations made smaller arcs with each swing, in all the cases it always took basically the same time for the chandelier to get back to the original position. To check his hypothesis, he set up two pendulums of equal lengths and tried to swing them. Observing these he realized they took the same period to make one full oscillation though the movement would be slower and the arcs shorter. These two occurrences are the ones that drove him to take up mathematics and try to explore it as deeply as he could. He finally managed to convince his father to allow him to change the field of study. During his study at the university, he got exposed to the world of Aristotelian mathematics. However, due to financial difficulties, he cut his education short in 1585 before he could earn his degree.

Academic Career

After having to abandon his education at the university, he set out to develop a thermoscope a device for temperature detection which became the prototype of the modern thermometer. He then decided to publish a book in which he discussed the problem of hydrostatic balance. This book was the first to bring his name particular recognition in the scholarly world. This, anyway, did not bring any significant income and he still needed a job to help support himself and his scientific work. For this reason, he found a teaching job in the Academy of Arts and Design in Florence where he had to teach perspective and chiaroscuro. During this time, he also studied design, and this drew his attention to the city’s architecture. His special interest was attracted by Renaissance art.

In 1589 he got a promotion and was invited by the university senate to be the professor and chairperson of the department of mathematics at the University of Pisa (NutshellEdu). He hence got the time to conduct his experiments one of which involved dropping two metal balls of varied weight from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Grounding on the results of his experiments he rejected Aristotle’s claim which argued that the speed of an object in the fall is directly proportional to its weight. In the paper describing the experiment called titled On motion, he wrote all his observations and results. He, therefore, took the Archimedean approach to the problem which made him gain unpopular status in the society. He lost his position at the University as his contract was not renewed after three years of its validity passed. His patrons helped him get a position as the chair of the mathematics department at the more liberal and open-minded University of Padua where he worked for the following eighteen years. It is exactly at that time that Galileo engaged himself in teaching well-to-do children on a private basis as the salary from the university could not meet the family expenses and help in the treatment of his seriously sick brother (NutshellEdu).

Galileo Galilei Discoveries

At the technologically challenged age that Galileo Galilei was living, he made several incredible discoveries in different fields of science that contributed to what is known about the world today. There are a few such inventions that gave a serious push towards further investigation and on which today major innovations are based. The most important was initiated when Galilei heard about a Dutch optician and lens maker who made a simple telescope. Galileo went further and started constructing his own, similar but far more powerful devices with each next attempt. He mastered all the secrets of the instrument and struggled with further experimentation until he came up with an improvement of the instrument. With the art of lens grinding that he had also learned, he was able to produce a more powerful microscope than any made before him. Upon his presentation of the improved microscope to the senate, they were impressed by his work and for that reason, they doubled up his salary and offered him a life tenure.

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According to NutshellEdu, he performed further improvement on the telescope until it was able to give a magnification of up to 20 times and allowed to see the moon and other celestial bodies far better. That was the first time the scientist realized that the moon had the rocky surface that is today being recorded in the books. This was achieved using the Galileo telescope. He used his invention to discover more about the stars and planets, and in 1610 he discovered that there were moons revolving around the planet Jupiter. Armed with his instrument, he would investigate on and on until he realized that the number of stars in the sky was significantly larger than the quantity people could see with their naked eyes. He is the one who discovered that Venus, like the Moon, also has phases and that Saturn is a little different from all the other planets. These discoveries were impressive and guaranteed him an appointment as a philosopher and mathematician of the Tuscany grand duke (NutshellEdu).

After the first discovery and study of the celestial bodies, he directed his efforts to try and understand what specifically made objects float in water. According to Aristotle’s argument, objects float in water as a result of the flatness of their shape, an idea that Galileo rejected. He placed his arguments on the object’s weight about the amount of water that the object in water displaces. In his book titled Discourse on Bodies in Water published in 1612, the idea was mentioned. He then went ahead to study the sun and in the same way, he negated the Aristotelian idea that the sun was perfect (Galilei and Scheiner 25). He came up with the sunspot theory in which he further indicated that the Copernican theory did not contract the biblical passages, but it, however, came up with a perspective that appeared more accurate and offered a more scientific point of view to the things. Because of the defense he made towards the Copernican theory, he was banned from the church and anything related to religion. When Pope Urban VIII rose to power in the church, Galileo was allowed to continue doing his work. This was so since the pope was Galileos friend and had always admired him. Galilei then continued with his work as an astronomer.

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The House Arrest

In almost all his discoveries Galileo deviated from Aristotle’s towards the Copernican perspective of things. In 1632, he wrote a book which he named Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. The book was composed of the opinions of three different people. The first person was supporting the Copernican theory of the heliocentric universe. The next person was arguing against it, and the final individual remained objective and was unbiased in all his perspectives. According to Drake (20), the book was impartial and neutral. This work, however, created a negative reaction from the church making Galileo summon to Rome to appear before the leaders of the church. Despite expectations, he was treated with respect and was not sentenced to prison. In his final attempt in the post-acquisition, Galileo admitted having been in support of the Copernican perspectives for which he was prosecuted by the hearsay and sentenced to a house arrest. During his last days, he completed his final book in which he summarized all the discoveries he had made in science, involving the studies on motion and strength of materials. He gave this book the name Two New Sciences. The great scientist died on the 8th of January 1642 at Arcetri presumably from fever and heart palpitations.

Conclusion

Galileo can be remembered as a person who was self-motivated and directed towards a vision. Looking at some of the discoveries he made during his life, he for sure can be termed the father of modern science. He based the validation of his theories on experimentation and results. He was one individual with a great interest in either confirming a theory or disapproving it if it had an argument that did not hold water. That is the main reason for his continual rejection of Aristotle’s theories and backing up the Copernican ones. His works will always be remembered and revised as he ensured he preserved them in writing. Even today, people making the current inventions in modern science rely on some of the principles he built.

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