Famous Astronomers Page
Image: Galileo Galilei
Image Credit: Encarta
Galileo (1564-1642) an Italian physicist and astronomer, was greatly remembered
for some very important contributions to astronomy and physics. He
was also known for his battle against the authorities for freedom of inquiry.
Early in his life, Galileo was taught by monks at Vallombrosa, and then
entered the university of Pisa in 1581 to study medicine. He soon
turned to philosophy and mathematics and left the University without a
degree in 1585. In 1589 he became professor of mathematics at Pisa.
He supposedly taught theories that contradicted Aristotle's theories, and
in 1592 his contract was not renewed. The same year he was appointed the
chair of mathematics at the University of Padua, which he remained at until
1610. While at Padua, he invented a 'calculating compass' for solving
mathematics problems. In 1609 he heard that in Holland a spy glass
had been invented, and he was inspired to create the first telescope, which
was as powerful as a modern day field glass. By December of the same
year, he had built another telescop twenty times stronger than the first,
which he was able to discovery craters on the moon with, stars in the milky
way, and the four largest satellites of Jupiter. He had also observed the
phases of Venus by this time. After his great discoveries, he mainly
stuck to writing books. In 1613 he published a book about sunspots,
1624 a book called Dialogue on the Tides, which he discusses Ptolemaic
and Copernican theories, in which he got himself reprimanded by the Inquisition
August 28, 1998.
unless otherwise credited, are credit of M. Mathis, 1998.