Galileo Galilei (Pisa, February 15, 1564 Arcetri, January 8, 1642), was a Tuscan astronomer, philosopher, and physicist who is closely associated with the scientific revolution. His achievements include improving the telescope, a variety of astronomical observations, the first law of motion, and supporting Copernicanism effectively. He has been referred to as the "father of modern astronomy," as the "father of modern physics," and as "father of science." His experimental work is widely considered complementary to the writings of Francis Bacon in establishing the modern scientific method. Galileo's career coincided with that of Johannes Kepler. The work of Galileo is considered to be a significant break from that of Aristotle. In addition, his conflict with the Roman Catholic Church is taken as a major early example of the conflict of authority and freedom of thought, particularly with science, in Western society.
Galileo was born in Pisa, Italy, as the son of Vincenzo Galilei, a mathematician and musician.
He attended the University of Pisa, but was forced to "drop out" for financial reasons. However, he was offered a position on its faculty in 1589 and taught mathematics. Soon after, he moved to the University of Padua, and served on its faculty teaching geometry, mechanics, and astronomy until 1610. During this time he explored science and made many landmark discoveries.
In the pantheon of the scientific revolution, Galileo takes a high position because of his pioneering use of quantitative experiments with results analyzed mathematically. There was no tradition of such methods in European thought at that time; the great experimentalist who immediately preceded Galileo, William Gilbert, did not use a quantitative approach. However, Galileo's father, Vincenzo Galilei, had performed experiments in which he discovered what may be the oldest known non-linear relation in physics, between the tension and the... [continues]
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