GALILEO GALILEIFather of modern science, Galileo Galilei is the giant thinker with which it spread a new way of doing science, founded on a solid method is no longer based on direct observation of nature, but rather on the use of scientific instruments.
Born in Pisa, February 15, 1564 to parents from what we now call middle class (his father was the musician Vincenzo Galilei, the mother of Giulia Ammannati), Galileo completed his first studies of literature and logic in Florence, where he moved with his family in 1574 at the behest of his father in 1581 he joined the faculty of medicine of the University of Pisa, but this discipline will not show a real interest. Therefore left the University of Pisa makes bags and returned to Florence.
Here develops a passion for mechanics starting to build more and more sophisticated machines, studying math and physics making observations with the guidance of Hostilius Ricci.
Over time formula some theorems of geometry and mechanics. The study of Archimedes in 1586 discovered the “bilancetta” to determine the specific gravity of bodies (the famous hydrostatic balance).
In 1589 he obtained the chair of mathematics at the University of Pisa he held until 1592; In 1591, his father Vincent dies, leaving the leadership of the family; in this period is interested in the motion of falling bodies and writes the “De Motu.”
In 1593, Galileo was called to Padua, where the local university offered him a prestigious professorship of mathematics, geometry and astronomy. Galileo agrees with enthusiasm and will remain there until 1610.
Meanwhile, in 1599 he met Marina Gamba, who will give him three children: Maria Celeste, and Archangela Vincenzio.
E ‘in this period that begins to move towards the Copernican theory of planetary motion, supported by the observations made by a new instrument built in the Netherlands: the telescope. Galileo then bring significant improvements to the instrument.
In 1609 he published his “new astronomy”, which contains the first two laws of planetary motion.
In Padua, Galileo with the new tool makes a series of observations of the moon in December 1609; is January 7, 1610 when he observes the “little stars” light near Jupiter.
In March 1610 reveals in “Starry Messenger” that it is the four satellites of Jupiter who will baptize “Astri Medici” in honor of Cosimo II de ‘Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.
Only later, at the suggestion of Kepler, satellites take the names by which they are known today: Europa, Io, Ganymede and Callisto.
The discovery of a bike that was not the center of the Earth begins to undermine the Ptolemaic theory of the universe. The astronomical theories of Galileo Galilei were soon considered to be incompatible with the revealed truths from the Bible and from the Aristotelian tradition.
A first consequence is formal admonition of Cardinal Bellarmine. Galileo, after all, does no more than confirm the Copernican theory, theory already known for some time.
The Inquisition ecclesiastical not listen to reason, this plant cosmological bubble as a heretic and forbids Galileo to support these theories. As if that were not enough the text “De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium” Copernicus is put on the Index.
In April of 1630, Galileo, is intimidated but not enough to stop his extraordinary scientific exploration, finish writing the “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems,” in which the Copernican and Ptolemaic theories are put dialectically compared, then of course demonstrate the superiority of the new scientific findings.
Also agrees with the Vatican a few changes in order to print the work, but then decided to have it printed in Florence in 1632.
Came into the hands of Pope Urban VIII, he prohibits the distribution and is a process set up by the Inquisition against Galileo.
The scientist, now old and sick, he was called to Rome and processed (1633). Imprisoned and threatened with torture, Galileo was forced to recant publicly (humiliated wore a coarse sack) and sentenced to life in prison. It is said that on the occasion Galileo muttered between his teeth, “And yet it moves.”
The sentence was later commuted to what we today would call “house arrest”: he is allowed to serve his sentence in his villa in Arcetri, near Florence, prison and exile until his death.
This colossal scientist and thinker to whom we owe the fundamental building blocks of scientific progress as we know it today, died in Florence on January 8, 1642, surrounded by students and almost total blindness.