ALPHABETICAL BRAIN VOCABULARY
100 MOST INFLUENTIAL SCIENTISTS
#7 GALILEO GALILEI
Life Dates: 1564-1642
Galileo Galilei was an Italian astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher, and mathematician who played a major role in the scientific revolution during the Renaissance.
Galileo is widely regarded as one of the greatest scientists of all time.
His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism.
Galileo has been called the Father of Modern Observational Astronomy, and the Father of Modern Physics, and the Father of Modern Science.
His contributions to observational astronomy include the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter (named the Galilean moons in his honour), and the observation and analysis of sunspots.
Galileo also worked in applied science and technology, inventing an improved military compass and other instruments.
Galileo's championing of Heliocentrism was controversial within his lifetime, when most subscribed to either Geocentrism or the Tychonic System. He met with opposition from astronomers, who doubted heliocentrism due to the absence of an observed stellar parallax.
His claims were investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, and they concluded that his theories could only be supported as a possibility, not as an established fact.
Galileo later defended his views in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, which appeared to attack Pope Urban VIII, and thus alienated the Pope and the Jesuits, who had both supported Galileo up until this point.
He was tried by the Inquisition and was found "vehemently suspect of heresy".
Galileo was forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.
It was while Galileo was under house arrest that he wrote one of his finest works, called the Two New Sciences, in which he summarized the work he had done some forty years earlier on the two sciences that are now called kinematics and strength of materials.
SOURCES = The Scientific 100 by John Simmons, Britannica Encyclopedia, and Wikipedia.
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