Galileo Galilei was born at Pisa on 15 February 1564. His father, Vincenzio Galilei was a musician whose originality and polemic talents fomented a revolution uniting practice and theory in music much as Galileo to unite them in science. Galileo was the oldest one of the seven children.
After his schooling, he was sent to the ancient Camaldolese Monastery at Vallombroso, where he studied with the Camaldolese monks until his matriculation at the University of Pisa in 1581. Galileo’s early years at the University of Pisa earned him a reputation for giving a rebut against his professors.
1. The Scientist dropped out from the University
In 1583 Galileo gave some lectures on Euclid’sgeometry not at the university but by a practical mathematician in the service of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. His father forced him to complete his medical course but he refused and nevertheless he left the university in 1585 without a degree. After leaving the university, Galileo offered private tuitions in Mathematics at Florence and Siena. His first original scientific paper was written in 1586, on the hydrostatic balance; it showed a mixture of theoretical and practical interests the former being taken from Archimedes.
2. He was never Married but did raise his family
Throughout his entire life, he was never married. Galileo Galilei never tied the knot. But he was associated with a woman called Marina Gamba with whom he raised three children namely Virginia (b. 1600), Livia (b. 1601) and Vincenzo (b.1606). Their two daughters joined the convent school of San Matteo in Arcetri and their son pursued music as a career.
3. Invented Thermometer and Military Compass
Nearly after a decade, Galileo Galilei designed and invented a device to measure temperatures with relatively good accuracy called the thermometer or thermoscope. Unlike other thermometers, the one designed by the Italian physicist relies on the buoyancy principle and the fact is that the buoyancy of objects that floats inside a liquid depends on the density of the latter, thus on the temperature of the medium.
Around the same time, Galileo’s financial condition was not good at all. So he increased his private teaching, obtained advances against his salary and borrowed money from one of his closest friends. Galileo had written research papers on sighting and triangulation, which was followed in 1597 by an invention of a mechanical calculating device he called the military compass.
4. Inspired by Spyglass maker Hans Lippershey and invented Telescope
The first known astronomical observations made by him were carried out in 1604. In 1609 Galileo worked hard on his research papers on natural motions when events took place that changed his scientific interests. Realising the importance of a spyglass Galileo reasoned that one of the two lenses must be convex and the other be concave. And on such day it worked. Galileo arrived with a telescope about as powerful as our ordinary field glasses. With this, he was able to describe approaching ships two hours before they could even be seen by the naked eye.
5. Faced the wrath of the Catholic Church for his views about the universe
In 1633, Galileo Galilei faced punishment for his views about the universe. What was the centre of the universe, Earth or the sun? The Catholic Church has always believed that the Bible said the entire solar system revolves around the earth and whoever opposes this belief will be charged under heresy. But Galileo Galilei was a man of science and he believed that scientific evidence could oppose such theory.
6. His sister smuggled out his work and later published his work when he was under house arrest
The man was amounted to house arrest rather than a prison sentence. His sister managed to smuggle out his extensive work on ‘Discourses and mathematical demonstrations concerning the two new sciences’ from Italy to the Netherlands. It was his most rigorous work which treated problems on impetus, moments and centres of gravity. In his book, he developed some of the most famous mathematical ideas such as the motion of objects on an inclined plane, the acceleration of Aristotelian free-falling bodies theory as well as the movement of the pendulum.
7. Death and acknowledgement of Errors by Pope
Galileo died near Florence on 8 January 1642. He was buried beside his father in the family tomb in the Basilica of Santa Croce but his relatives thought it would provoke the sentiments of the Church.
On 31 October, 350 years after his death, Pope John Paul II gave an address on behalf of the Catholic Church. He acknowledges the errors that were made in the case of Galileo but he did not admit that the church was wrong to convict him on a charge of heresy.