Sample Astronomy Essay on Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei is celebrated as the most illustrious astronomer, physicist, and mathematician in the world. His contribution in revolutionizing modern science has made scholars refer him as the father of modern astronomy. This is because some of his discoveries and concepts laid a foundation on which modern research make references to. He is also being credited for his contributions in astronomical observation, which saw the discovery of a telescope and Jupiter the largest planet in the universe.

The early life of Galileo

Galileo, an Italian astronomer was born in Pisa in the year 1564. He was the first-born son to Vincenzo Galilei and Ammananti. His father was an accomplished musician and a theorist. Galileo’s family relocated to Florence in 1574 where he started his schooling in Vallombrosa at Camaldolese monastery.

Galileo aspired to take a profession in priesthood while at the monastery a dream that did not go well with his father who wanted him to become a medical doctor since the profession was a guarantee to secure financial future. He joined the school of medicine in University of Pisa in 1583.As a result of his high intellect and talent. Galileo became interested in many subjects at the university especially physics and mathematics. While at the university of Pisa, Galileo was exposed to the views of Aristotle about the world, which were regarded as the leading authority in scientific inquiry by the Catholic Church. Initially Galileo supported Aristotle’s views just as any other academician but later refuted this claims a fact that made him to be left in cold by his colleagues. However, financial problems made him to drop out of the university in 1585 before completing his studies.

Galileo switched from being a physician to become a mathematician because of an incident that occurred in 1581. First, he noticed that despite a chandelier either big or small took the same amount of time to make a complete rotation to come to its initial position. He was amused by the findings a fact that made him to set up a pendulum and swung them with different weep. The most interesting thing to him was that despite the differences in the weep, both pendulums took the same time to return to their original position. He took this opportunity in his discovery to convince his father to allow him study natural philosophy and mathematics an idea that his father did not object.

Galileo set his mind to create athermoscope, which was the brainchild to the modern thermometer upon leaving the University of Pisa. He further published a book, which brought into perspective his ideas in hydrostatic balance. The publication earned him accolade awards and recognition in the world of academia. Galileo took up a teaching join in Florence to support himself.

He was elevated to chair the department of mathematics at the University of Pisa in 1989. During his tenure at the university, he conducted a number of experiments. It is at this time that he carried out a study that refuted Aristotelian claims that ‘the speed of a falling object is directly proportion to its weight’. He carried his experiment by drooping objects of varied weight from the learning tower top. He later published his findings, which were in agreement with the Archimedes approach to objects in motion.

Galileo’s status and popularity reduced due to his critique and disregard to Aristotelian ideas. This saw the termination of his contract in 1592. However, his friends secured him a position at the University of Padua, which he served as the chair of mathematics for eighteen years. At the university, he taught astronomy, geometry, and mechanics.

Findings and discoveries

Galileo made publications on “Operations of the Geometrical and military compass” in 1604, which displayed his prowess in application of practical technologies and experiments. He further made a hydrostatic balance, which was used in measuring objects. These inventions earned him more income and recognition. In the same year, he developed the universal law of acceleration by refining his theories on objects in motion. He started to openly advocate for Copernican ideas that the nine planets and the earth revolve around the sun. This set a conflict with the Catholic Church who had strong beliefs in Aristotelian ideas about the universe.

Galileo in 1609 studied a simple telescope made by the Dutch eyeglass company. This prompted to make his own telescope, which he demonstrated, to Venetian Merchants. The merchants saw it as a worthy discovery for spotting of the ships and gave Galileo more money. In 1610, Galileo ambitions made him to turn the telescope towards the heavens. He discovered that the moon was a spherical star with caterers and mountains and was not flat as previous astronomers projected it. He also made discoveries on Venus, which revealed that it had phases akin to those of the moon. Furthermore, he found out that Jupiter is the largest planet in the universe and in had moons, which did not revolve around the earth.

Later, he started collecting a body of evidence in support of the Copernican theory so as to contradict the church and Aristotelian doctrines. This made him to publish a book in 1612, which refuted Aristotle’s exposition on the floatation of objects. He reiterated that objects did not float in water because of their shape but due to a relationship between the weight of the object and the amount of water that the object displaces. He also refuted the idea that the sun was a perfect object. This prompted to write letters to his students to give him more insight on how Copernican ideas did not contradict biblical teaching and that the bible was written basing on an early perspective about the universe and that Copernican ideas were scientific and gave a more accurate account of how the universe operates. The Catholic Church being the dominant authority at the time ordered Galileo not to teach nor make further explanations about Copernicus theories about the motion of the earth. He obeyed the command for seven years so as not to get into problems with the authority

There was turn of events in 1623 when cardinal Maffeo who was Galileo’s friend became the Pope Urban viii. The new pope encouraged Galileo to continue with his research in astronomy and even allowed him to make public his findings on a condition that they studies does not advocate Copernican ideas and that they should be objective. He published a book with a dialogue between three people, one who was in support of Copernican theory, another one, which was against, and the last one who was impartial. Although Galileo asserted that the dialogue was neutral, critics argue that it was to a large extent meant to discredit Aristotelian doctrines.

Aristotle’s conflict with the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church summoned Galileo, which was the ruling authority at the time as a result of the publication of “Dialogues”. The inquiry into his publication started in September of 1632 and lasted for ten months. During this time, he was treated with respect but after being threatened with torture, he admitted that his book supported Copernicus ideas a fact that saw him placed under house arrest. He died in 1642 after an attack by heart palpitation and fever. By this time, the reality had downed on the church since it had stated appreciating scientific facts and lifted the ban on Copernican discoveries about the earth. By the time of his death, he has three children, which he bore with Marina, a Venetian woman though he was not officially married to the lady.