Honors Humanities: period 3
April 19, 2013
Galileo Galilei: an Autobiography
On the night of February 15, 1564, my parents held me, the first of their six children, for the first time. My father, Vincenzo Galilei, was well known in my birth city, Pisa, for his lute playing and musical theories. My mother, Giulia Ammannati, held me on my first night out of the womb and softened my cries by whispering my name, Galileo Galilei, over and over again. A few years later, when I reached the age of ten, my family packed up all of our belongings and moved to Florence, Italy. The year of 1574 I began my formal schooling at the nearby Camaldolese monastery in Vallombrosa. After completing my education at the monastery, I wished to continue learning. In 1583, I began attending the University of Pisa to study medicine. However, studying the subject of medicine was not enough for me. I became enamoured with mathematics and loved physics so I switched my major, much to my father’s dismay. At the university, I was exposed to the Aristotelian views of the world, which, at the time, were considered correct and were approved of by the Roman Catholic Church. However, my time at the university was sadly cut short due to financial struggles in 1585 and I never received my diploma (“Galileo”, The Biography Channel website). Essencially, nobody but my friends and family knew my name; I was a “nobody”. For a few years, in an effort to make money, I tutored young scholars in mathematics. During my time as a private teacher, I made my first impactful discovery; this discovery was a hydrostatic balance for weighing small amounts which I wrote about in La bilancetta (“The Little Balance”) (“Galileo”, Britannica Biographies). Also, around this time, I began my studies on motion, which became my primary focus for nearly two decades. My studies paid off in 1589 when I received a chair of mathematics at the University of Pisa. However, I discovered one of...