Galileo Galilei 

The man who is best known as the example of the contrast between the science practised by ancient scholars and those who took part in the abundant scientific achievements of the European Renaissance  (literally meaning rebirth in French).

His martyrdom 

Galileo angered the Catholic Church by making claims , rightly so , that the Earth revolves around the sun and not vise Versa. He was forced to recant those views that he demonstrated in his book dialogue concerning the two chief world systems . This contradicted church teachings and some of the clergy accused galileo of heresy.

Galileo was 68 years old and sick. Threatened with torture, he publicly confessed that he had been wrong to have said that the Earth moves around the Sun. Legend then has it that after his confession, Galileo quietly whispered “And yet, it moves.” 

The Church eventually lifted the ban on Galileo’s Dialogue in 1822, when it was common knowledge that the Earth was not the center of the Universe. Still later, there were statements by the Vatican Council in the early 1960’s and in 1979 that implied that Galileo was pardoned, and that he had suffered at the hands of the Church. Finally, in 1992, three years after Galileo Galilei’s namesake spacecraft had been launched on its way to Jupiter, the Vatican formally and publicly cleared Galileo of any wrongdoing.


He spent his final years of life as a martyr to the cause of science.

His science 

Galileo didn’t invent the telescope, that is a common misconception. However , he took advantage of the technology by improving and popularising it in 1609. He had heard of the new instrument invented by Hans Lippershey in the Netherlands. He then went on to build some of the world’s best telescopes for his time.

In 1610 he observed 4 objects surrounding Jupiter that behaved unlike stars; they were Jupiter’s four largest moons.
He also discovered the phases of Venus and the rings of Saturn.

Galileo discovered the secrets of the pendulum swing and using timing methods such as his pulse and the oscillation of a pendulum and  he began performing experiments in motion proving once and for all that bodies of different weights fall at the same speed. The Acceleration due to gravity. 

Following Aristotle the belief was that a heavy object would fall faster than a lighter object. Galileo realised this was an illusion. If you drop a feather and and rock from a skyscraper, indeed the rock will fall faster, but that is primarily because there is another external force acting on the feather : air resistance.

Galileo was considering dropping objects from the famous  leaning tower of Pisa (his home town) but air resistance would have ruined the experiment.
If you have two rounded objects of different mass and if you roll them down a slope , they will roll down at precisely the same speed , assuming friction is negligible.

Galileo realised that the slope would slow the balls down so their speed of decent could be measured.

He also initiated the work behind Newton’s laws. Commonly credited to Newton , Galileo did In fact  realise before Newton that objects will remain stationery or in constant motion unless and external force acts upon the body.

 His life 

Galileo was born in Pisa , Italy in 1564 and he was not limited to one field of study  but much like his father , he took interest in music , painting and he also studied medicine in his youth. 

I dedicate this post to this renowned scientist. Happy Birthday to Galileo . Whose work shaped the modern physics that we come to  know  today. 


Image credits to Google & curiosity on Facebook. 

Research source: phenomenal physics by Isaac Mcphee