Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), born in Pisa, Italy, remains one of the most famous scientists, engineers, and inventors even after all these centuries. As it happens, not all of his ideas and inventions were appreciated during his time. Still, Galileo as an astronomer made the most valuable contribution to space observation. In fact, Galileo’s inventions were so ground-breaking for his time that even now, we can only wonder about Galilei’s genius. But who was this amazing scientist, and what things did Galileo invent? Read on to discover some facts about Galileo that will most certainly surprise you.
Personal Life: What are interesting Facts about Galileo?
It should come as no surprising fact that a person who revolutionized science would also have some rebellious tendencies in his personal life. Few facts are known about Galileo’s early life, except that he came from a noble but impoverished family. His father was greatly interested in art, but to make a living, he had to trade in cloth and other commodities.
Young Galileo started his education at a regular school, but when his family moved to Florence, he continued his education at the monastery of Vallombrosa. We know for a fact that it’s here that Galileo became interested in exact sciences and was serious about staying a monk to pursue sciences even further. Yet, to fulfil his father’s wish, Galileo entered the University of Pisa to study medicine instead. It’s here that Galileo’s rebellious nature fully revealed itself. Galileo became known as an ardent debater on various philosophical topics and an author of several satirical poems openly criticizing formalism and conventional social norms.
Galileo’s intolerance to acceptable norms is further strengthened by the fact that he was in a common-law marriage, fathering several children with the same woman out of wedlock. Today, this may not seem like a shocking fact at all, but five centuries ago, such a situation could truly be considered scandalous.
Galileo never graduated from the University of Pisa because, after a few years of schooling, his father ran out of money to cover the tuition fees. Still, Galilei’s time at Pisa was not wasted — we know for a fact that it is here that he met with a mathematician Ostilio Ricci, finally discovering his true calling for exact sciences. And this is where some truly amazing Galileo facts begin!
Galileo a physicist & mathematician
Because of several Galileo’s trinkets and tools developed five centuries ago, the most important of which is the first fully-functional telescope, we perceive Galilei as an astronomer. Still, according to Orbital Today, this brilliant scientist seemed more interested in Maths and physics.
Galilei published a lot of prominent Maths doctrines and even outlined the basis for the theory of relativity. Most importantly, he refuted many of Aristotle’s dogmas that were considered axioms of the time. In particular, he disproved Aristotle’s theory that different bodies have different properties of ‘lightness,’ which, according to Aristotle, would mean that they fall at different speeds. Today, we know for a fact that this is not the case, but it was Galileo who disproved this theory for the first time.
In 1584, Galileo came up with some basic explanatory facts about kinetic energy by observing a pendulum in motion. He noticed that the full swing takes the same amount of time, even when the distance is shortened. Something that we know for an elementary school fact now was never explained before, and it is the pendulum law that made Galilei famous among his contemporaries.
But coming back to the topic of Galileo and the telescope, so relevant for us today, which space facts did this scientist uncover with his revolutionary invention? A total of five facts, almost unbelievable for his time:
- Fact #1: Milky Way Galaxy is a large collection of stars;
- Fact #2: It is the Earth that rotates around the sun, not vice versa;
- Fact #3: Sun has spots on its surface;
- Fact #4: Moon’s surface has craters and mountains;
- Fact #5: Jupiter has moons of its own (back then, Galilei could only observe four, but today we know for a fact that there are 67).
Of course, such ground-breaking discoveries could not but have some fierce opponents during Galileo’s time, and, sadly, the all-powerful Catholic Church was one of them. Holy Church was particularly unhappy about Galileo’s findings about Earth’s rotation. This theory, already introduced by Copernicus before, truly antagonized contemporary Church officials and was, quite logically, branded as ‘dangerous heresy.’ Fortunately, Galileo had no intention of following his colleague to the stake, so he renounced some of his theories, which saved this brilliant scientist’s life.
Sadly, he did not live to see how his works were struck out from the Church’s Index of Forbidden Books and his name restored to its well-deserved glory. But we know for a fact that Galileo Galileo was a truly brilliant scientist of the 16-17th centuries, and we still applaud him today.