Galileo Galilei: biography and contributions to science of this researcher

Among the great figures who shaped the scientific revolution during the Renaissance, we can find the figure of Galileo Galilei who, and not for free, is considered the father of modern science.

This Italian mathematician, physicist and scientist has contributed enormously to science, in addition to having changed the paradigm on what was the position of the Earth in the Universe, which goes very badly with the ecclesiastical authorities.

Then, in this biography of Galileo Galilei we will discover the great genius that this researcher wasFirmly believing that the world could be explained by means of mathematics, a discipline which has always applied in his many experiences without which our world would be very different.

    Brief biography of Galileo Galilei

    Galileo Galilei was an Italian physicist, mathematician and astronomer who devoted most of his life to teaching and researching the workings of nature, that is, the laws that governed the universe. Through his observations, discoveries and experiments, the Italian scientist lay the foundations of modern astronomy and physics, In addition to being considered one of the fathers of modern science. We start with the first few years of his life and then move on to his maturity as a scientist.

    Childhood and early childhood

    Galileo was born in the Italian city of Pisa, then Grand Duchy of Tuscany, on February 15, 1564. He grew up in a family of merchants who, until the age of 10, devoted themselves personally to the training of the young Galileo. However, once he reached this age the family had to emigrate to Florence and since they could not take care of Galileo they left their education in the care of a neighbor.

    His neighbor was a very religious man, who saw fit for the boy to enter a convent. When Galileo’s father found out about this, he didn’t take it very well, because he just happened to have few religious.

    He decided to remove the young man from the convent and, years later, in 1581, ordered him to enroll at the University of Pisa to study medicine. Galileo spent four years enrolled in this race, but didn’t generate much interest and ended up leaving at 21, without receiving the title.

    Although his hobby was not medicine, it did not mean that he was not interested in anything of the highest knowledge, but rather the opposite. Young Galileo Galilei felt a keen interest in mathematics, Who were to blame for not investing enough hours of study in the practice of medicine. Over time, mathematics would eventually give way to its true vocation: physics.

    professional life

    Already in his twenties, Galileo began to carry out mechanical experiments, which did not go unnoticed by many teachers.. So magnificent was his self-taught mathematics knowledge that at the age of only 25 he got a position as a professor of mathematics at the University of Pisa itself. Later, in 1592, Galileo moved to Padua and began working as a professor at the university in that city, devoting himself to teaching such disciplines as astronomy, mechanics and geometry.

    His stay in Padua would be a prosperous period. In the 18 years that were in such a city, moving away in 1610, it would be the period in which would realize the majority of its discoveries. Although the shadow of the Holy Inquisition loomed all over Europe, the city of Padua was a place far removed from religious repression, so that Galileo could enjoy relative freedom of thought and opinion, while at the same time being able to do it. All kinds of experiences.

    Being in Padua established the law explaining the accelerated motion of objects, Observed the stars, checked the operation of the water pump, created the precursor of the thermometer, studied magnetism … In fact, one of the highlights of his career occurred here, in 1609, the year where he perfected the telescope and observed the night sky in a way no one had ever done before and got the results that allowed him to challenge geocentric theory.

    Heliocentric Theory and Visit to Rome

    Thanks to the improvement of the Galileo Galilei telescope, he would obtain enough data to dare question one of the main beliefs inherited from the Middle Ages: the geocentric theoryIn other words, the Tiera is the center of the Universe.

    Through his observations, he came to the conclusion that the Sun was the center of the galaxy and not our planet, and he did so using the scientific method, not based on his beliefs or baseless assumptions.

    In turn, since the Earth was not the center of the Universe, our planet was moving. So Galileo confirmed Nicolas Copernicus’ theory that he formulated years ago in which he himself said that the Earth was not the center of everything. Heliocentrism has been strengthened. His observations with the telescope helped him show that celestial bodies do not revolve around the Earth, but that planets revolve around the Sun.

    In 1611 he moved to the papal capital, Rome, with the intention of presenting his revolutionary discoveries.. The rejection of the hitherto widely accepted model in Renaissance society attracted the attention of many scientists and also the rejection of most ecclesiastical authorities. To claim that the Earth was not the center of everything was to attack one of the fundamental pillars of the Church and of the Christian religion.

    Censorship was not long in coming and in 1616 the Holy Inquisition prohibited Galileo from defending, disseminating, teaching and supporting the heliocentric theory. Despite the repression against his science, Galileo continued to research and further develop his studies, as well as to publish works. To get around censorship instead of “defending” heliocentrism, he presented this idea as a hypothesis., With which, technically, he did not defend her, but explained it. A smart and subtle shade that kept him posting for a while.

    Conviction and death

    Decades passed and, perhaps already a little tired of having to present scientific fact as mere hypothesis, in 1632 he published a work in which he openly defended the heliocentric theory: Dialogues on the Two Highest Systems in the World. this time the Inquisition soon realized and began to investigate this matter as a heresy. A year later, at the age of 69, Galileo was tried in Rome for violating the censorship of 1616, treating him as a criminal and threatening to be tortured.

    Galileo Galilei ended up being forced to deny the heliocentric theory and its findings. After rejecting his ideas, his sentence was reduced to house arrest which, although unfair, was preferable to torture with the most ingenious inquisitorial procedures. Legend has it that as he left the courthouse he whispered “Eppur si muove” (“However, he moves”), alluding to the fact that due to censorship, persecution and denial of the facts, the Earth would continue to move. had observed.

    His house arrest lasted from 1633 to 1638 when he went blind. The Holy Inquisition had a certain Christian charity when they saw that Galileo Galilei could no longer see and agreed to move to a house near the sea.

    finally on January 8, 1642, at the age of 77, the scientist died. He died rejected by his disciples who did not forgive him for abandoning himself to the inquisitorial pressure and considered as a heretic by the Holy Church, an institution to which he recognized the error of having condemned him in 1992. Better late than never.

    Contributions to science by Galileo Galilei

    Galileo he firmly believed that everything that happened in nature could be explained by mathematical language.. Thanks to his knowledge mathematics and the way he applied them, Galileo was able to show the world that without numbers, human beings could never understand how the universe works. With his figures and the development of the scientific method, the Italian scientist rejected many of the beliefs that were prevalent in the Renaissance mentality.

    Observing the night sky with his telescope showed that the Sun was the center of the solar system and that the Earth, contrary to popular belief at the time, revolved around it. So to try to show that the classical theory of geocentrism was not true and yes, although with its limitations, it was heliocentric. This discovery, along with others, made Galileo Galilei one of the most important figures of the 1500s, causing the world to stop being gloomy and medieval to shine and rebirth.

    Moreover, he was a great man of science who he came to face the Holy Church to defend his scientific discoveries. No matter how much religion wants to look away or deny a conclusion, facts are facts and no unfounded belief or assumption can change them.

    Below we will see the main contributions to science of this Italian scientist, considered the father of modern science.

    1. Scientific method

    Galileo Galilei is not considered one of the fathers of modern science because he is, in fact, he could be considered the father of modern science, Since it is to him that we must thank the development of the scientific method.

    He was a strong advocate that research should be based on formulating a hypothesis which, depending on the results and different empirical evidence, should be rejected or accepted.

      2. Heliocentric theory

      Galileo Galilei’s heliocentric theory brought him to the courts of the Inquisition. This contribution is considered the final moment of the divorce between Church and Science..

      With his observations, Galileo reinforced the Copernican theory, which claimed that the Earth revolved around the Sun and not the other way around. This theory has been one of the greatest scientific revolutions in history since break with the belief that man was the center of the Universe.

      It should also be noted that Galileo was wrong to think that the Sun was the center of the Galaxy. It was indeed the center of the solar system, but today we know that the Sun orbiting other larger celestial objects and that its position in the Milky Way is rather peripheral.

      3. Invention of the telescope

      Technically, he wasn’t the one who invented the telescope from scratch, as there were already other similar objects with lenses that allowed larger objects to be seen. However, it was the ingenuity of Galileo Galilei that made it possible to improve these artefacts, Creation of the first telescope as we know it today, an instrument that could make celestial bodies larger by up to 30 times.

      4. Observations in the sky

      Thanks to the development of its telescope, Galileo was able to observe the sky like no one had done before. He was the first to observe the craters of the Moon, sunspots, the four largest satellites of Jupiter, the phases of Venus, and other astronomical phenomena and bodies. too much he was the first to reveal that there were more stars in the Universe than could be seen with the naked eye.

      5. Laws of motion

      Galileo Galilei served as inspiration and was also the forerunner of the laws of motion, which would be postulated several years later by the English physicist and mathematician Isaac Newton. Galileo observed that all objects accelerated at the same rate as they fell from the same height, no matter their size or weight.. From this he concluded that forces were the causes of movement, so that if no force was applied to an object, it did not have to move.

      6. Mathematics development

      In his youth, Galileo Galilei became interested in mathematics and considered that they could explain the laws of how the world works. Mathematics was a fundamental tool for understanding nature because the world was ruled by numbers.

      He was one of the first scientists to base his research on mathematics. use numbers as tools to analyze and understand phenomena that have occurred in nature.

      7. Precursor of the thermometer

      Galileo Galilei is also credited with creating the forerunner of the thermometer, called a thermoscope. It was a rather rudimentary tool in our eyes but complex for the time which was used to measure the temperature.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Barnús, C. (2017) “Galileo Galilei: founder of modern science”. Researchgate.
      • Bombal Gordón, F. (2014) “Galileo Galilei: a man against darkness”. Royal Academy of Sciences.
      • Marquina, JE (2009) “Galileo Galilei”. Scientific magazine

      Leave a Comment