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Galileo Galilei (15 February 1564– 8 January 1642) was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism. Galileo has been called the "father of modern observational astronomy", the "father of modern physics", the "father of science", and "the Father of Modern Science”. His contributions to observational astronomy include the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter (named the Galilean moons in his honour), and the observation and analysis of sunspots. Galileo also worked in applied science and technology, inventing an improved military compass and other instruments. Although he seriously considered the priesthood as a young man, at his father's urging he instead enrolled at the University of Pisa for a medical degree. In 1581, when he was studying medicine, he noticed a swinging chandelier, which air currents shifted about to swing in larger and smaller arcs. It seemed, by comparison with his heartbeat, that the chandelier took the same amount of time to swing back and forth, no matter how far it was swinging. When he returned home, he set up two pendulums of equal length and swung one with a large sweep and the other with a small sweep and found that they kept time together. It was not until Christian Huygens almost one hundred years later, however, that the resonant nature of a swinging pendulum was used to create an accurate timepiece. To this point, he had deliberately been kept away from mathematics (since a physician earned so much more than a mathematician) but upon accidentally attending a lecture on geometry, he talked his reluctant father into letting him study mathematics and science instead. He created a grossly inaccurate thermoscope (now commonly referred to as a Galileo thermometer) in an...
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