10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei initially took admission in medicine but was distracted by mathematics. He dropped out of school so he could pursue his dreams. In around 1583, he explained the rules that oversee the motion of pendulums.

Galileo Galilei was one of the finest astronomers that walked planet earth. He introduced multiple concepts and theories that helped modern scientists and astronauts.

Moreover, Galilei is considered the founder of modern-day science. His contributions in the fields of physics, astronomy, cosmology, mathematics and philosophy are praiseworthy. He studied the moons of Jupiter, rings of Saturn and the phases of Venus with the help of his improved and enhanced telescope.

Galileo’s finger
Galileo Galilei’s finger is on display at the Museo di Storia del Scienza in Florence, Italy. Source: telegraph.co.uk

Galilei was quite honest when it came to science and his discoveries. He tried to enlighten the people of olden days with the help of his knowledge but was disgraced and shunned by the religious authorities.

The leaders of the Catholic Church associated everything with god. Hence, Galileo was ultimately forced to withdraw. He was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life.

Following are ten fascinating facts regarding Galileo Galilei and his life. Let’s have a look at them, shall we?

1) Galileo Galilei was the first of six children:

Born in 1564, Galileo Galilei was the first of six children of Vincenzo Galilei. Moreover, his father was a musician and scholar.

2) He got admitted to the University of Pisa at the age of 16:

Galileo Galilei initially took admission in medicine but was distracted by mathematics. He dropped out of school so he could pursue his dreams. In around 1583, he explained the rules that oversee the motion of pendulums.

2) Head of the mathematics department in the universities of Pisa and Padua:

Due to his marvellous accomplishments, Galileo Galilei was elected as the chair of two universities known as Pisa and Padua. He also performed various experiments with falling bodies and extensively contributed to the field of physics.

3) Galileo Galilei’s telescope: 

In around 1609, Galileo Galilei constructed his first telescope. With the help of his telescope, Galileo discovered four new stars encircling Jupiter in 1610. He promptly published a short paper called Sidereus Nuncius, in which he described his discoveries in detail. He also incorporated his ideas about the moon’s uneven surface in his paper. 

4) Galileo Galilei enhanced Hans Lippershey’s design:

Galilei did not construct the telescope himself but enhanced Lippershey’s design. The Dutch government did not approve of Hans’ device and decided that the telescope was extremely easy to copy. Galilei learned about the said device and improved it as per his knowledge. Hence, he was not the one who originally built it.

5) Galilei’s daughters were nuns:

In around 1613, he asked his two daughters, Virginia and Livia, to remain in a nunnery near Florence. They remained there for the rest of their lives, despite their father’s troubles with the Catholic Church. One of them eventually turned into an acclaimed Religious Sister.

6) Galileo was sentenced to life in prison:

Galileo openly supported Copernicus and his theories. However, in 1616, the Catholic Church leaders announced Copernican theory atheistic and inaccurate because it contradicted some Bible verses. Galileo was asked to investigate Copernicus’ ideas. He was ultimately sentenced to life in prison mainly because he spoke in favour of Science. 

7) Galileo’s finger is on display at Museo di Storia del Scienza:

Once Galileo passed away, he was buried in a church of Santa Croce in Florence. In around 1737, when his remnants were being transferred to a burial chamber, one of his admirers took three of his fingers, vertebra and a tooth along. Galileo Galilei’s finger is currently on display at the Museo di Storia del Scienza in Florence, Italy.

8) NASA’s Galileo spacecraft:

NASA and Germany launched a spaceship called Galileo from the cargo bay of space shuttle Atlantis. The Galileo spacecraft became the first to investigate and study Jupiter in 1995. It remained on Jupiter for a while and gave sufficient information to the scientists.

9) The Vatican didn’t approve of Galileo until 1992:

Pope John Paul II launched an investigation into the Catholic Church’s conviction of Galileo in around 1979. The Pope closed the case 359 years after Galileo death. He also issued an apology and acknowledged the mistake.

10) Galileo’s final years under house arrest:

Galileo spent his remaining years at Villa Il Gioiello, Florence, Italy. He was not allowed to see his friends or to publish any books. However, he entertained visitors from around Europe, including philosopher Thomas Hobbes and poet John Milton.

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