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Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei ( Pisa, February 15, 1564 - Arcetri, January 8, 1642) was a physicist, philosopher, astronomer and mathematician Italian, father of modern science.

His name is associated with important contributions in dynamics and in astronomy - including the improvement of the telescope, which allowed him to important astronomical observations - and the introduction of the scientific method (often called the Galilean method ).

Of primary importance was its role in the astronomical revolution and its support for the Copernican heliocentric system and theories. Accused of trying to subvert the natural philosophy of Aristotle and the Scriptures, why Galileo was condemned as a heretic by the Catholic Church and forced, June 22, 1633, to recant his astronomical concepts, and to spend the rest of his life in isolation.
The youth (1564-1588)

Galileo was born in Pisa, February 15, 1564, the eldest of seven children of Vincenzo Galilei and Giulia Ammannati. The Ammannati, originating in the lands of Pistoia and Pescia, boasted prestigious origins : a Ammannati Thomas (ca 1345-1396 ), was made ​​a cardinal by Pope Clement VII in 1385, while his brother Boniface (ca 1350-1399 ) got the purple in 1397 from one of the successors of Clement, the anti- Pope Benedict XIII; As James Ammannati Piccolomini (1422 - 1479), cardinal since 1477, was a humanist, continuation of the Commentaries of Pius II and author of Lives of the Popes that has been lost.

We understand how Julia Ammannati not lack to detect the difference in origins to Vincenzio, as the ancestors of her husband had belonged to the middle-class Florentine remembers a Bonaiuti Thomas, who was part of the government of Florence after the expulsion of the Duke of Athens in 1343, and a Galileo de ' Galilei (1370 - ca 1450), a well-known doctor in his time and standard-bearer of justice, whose tomb in the church of Santa Croce became the grave of his descendants. But Vincenzo was born in Santa Maria a Monte in 1520, by which time his family had lapsed and he, musician value, had to move to Pisa combining, for the need for more money, to the exercise of the profession of music trade. On July 9, 1563 Vincenzio leases a house in Via dei Mercanti in Pisa by Joseph Mouth, while among those with whom he was in business, stands the name of the Pisan patrician Jacopo della Seta, a member of the Wake.

Lute player, teacher and music theorist - had been part of the Florentine Camerata dei Bardi - had come into conflict with the classical tradition sustained by his teacher Zarlino, who attributed the consonance between all sounds the control of numerical proportions and, with his Discourse Opera Messer Gioseffo Zarlino from Chioggia and the Dialogue of ancient music and modern, had proposed to return to the monophonic melody against the prevailing contrapuntal polyphony.

Of the other six children of Vincenzo and Julia, have been some news of Peter Paul, Virginia, born in 1573, Michelangelo, born in 1575, and Livia, born in 1578, like his brother Michelangelo in Florence, where the Galilei family had moved since 1574. The young Galileo made his first studies in Pisa under Muzio Tedaldi, customs officer of the city, and Florence, first with his father, then with a master of dialectic, and finally in the school of the monastery of Santa Maria di Vallombrosa, where he took the habit of a novice until the age of fourteen.

Vincenzio, September 5, 1581, the son enrolled at the University of Pisa with the intention to make him study medicine, as in Galileo will ripercorresse the glorious tradition of his ancestor and especially to undertake a career that could be reserved lucrative earnings ; Despite his interest in experimental progress of those years, Galileo's attention was soon drawn to the math, that he began to study the summer of 1583, taking advantage of the opportunity of knowledge made ​​in Florence Hostilius Ricci da Fermo, a follower school mathematics Niccolo Tartaglia. Feature Ricci was the setting that he gave the teaching of mathematics : not an abstract science, but a science that would serve to solve practical problems related to mechanics and engineering techniques. It is likely that at Pisa Galileo has also followed the physics courses required dall'aristotelico Francis Buonamico : it would demonstrate the coincidence of arguments between the juvenilia, the notes of physics sketched by Galileo during this period, and the ten books of the De motu Buonamico.

During his stay in Pisa, which lasted up to 1585, Galileo arrived at his first, personal discovery, the isochronism of the oscillations of the pendulum : as the authorship of the discovery should be assigned to Ibn Junis ( 950-1009 ), it is certain that the ' activities quell'astronomo Arabic was still completely unknown in Europe.

So it was that, after four years, the young Galileo renounced to continue his medical studies in Pisa and returned to Florence, where he deepened his new scientific interests, dealing with mechanics and hydraulics ; In 1586 he invented an instrument for determining the specific weight of the hydrostatic bodies: it describes the details in the short bilancetta The treaty, first circulated among his acquaintances and published posthumously in 1644. The influence of Archimedes and the teaching of Ricci is also found in his studies on the center of gravity of solids, expressed in theoremata about centrum gravitatis solidorum, published only in 1638 in the appendix to the Discourses and Mathematical Demonstrations Relating to Two New Sciences, and found a solution to the problem of Heron's crown.

Meanwhile, Galileo tried a regular budget accommodation : in addition to giving private lessons in mathematics in Florence and Siena, in 1587 he went to Rome to ask for a recommendation to enter the University of Bologna to the famous mathematician Christoph Clavius ​​, but in vain, because they preferred to Bologna the chair of mathematics at Padua, Giovanni Antonio Magini. At the invitation of the Florentine Academy was held in 1588, two lessons about the shape, size and site of Dante's Inferno, defending the assumptions already made by Antonio Manetti on the topography of hell imagined by Dante until, in 1589, recommended by Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte, brother of the mathematician Guidobaldo, got by Grand Duke Ferdinando I a three-year contract to hold the chair of mathematics at the University of Pisa.

The teaching in Pisa (1589-1592)
Pisa is the fruit of the teaching manuscript De motu antiquiora, which collects a series of lectures in which he tries to give an account of the problem of the movement. Based on his research is the treatise, published in Turin in 1585, Diversarum speculationum mathematicarum free encyclopedia Giovanni Battista Benedetti, one of the supporters of the theory of physicists ' " surge " as the cause of " violent motion." Although not known to define the nature of such an impetus imprinted bodies, this theory, developed for the first time in the sixth century by John Philoponus, and later supported by physical Paris, despite not being able to solve the problem, opposed to the traditional Aristotelian explanation of the movement as a product of the medium in which the bodies themselves move.

In Pisa, Galileo did not confine himself to scientific pursuits were put in place at this time of his Considerations on the rate that will be followed up with Postille Ariosto : it is scattered notes on sheets and notes in the margins on the pages of his volumes of Jerusalem and Orlando Furioso where reproach to rate "the paucity of imagination and the slow monotony of image and verse, what he loves nell'Ariosto is not only the multimillion sweet dreams, the rapid change his situations, the living elasticity of rhythm, but the harmonious balance of this, the coherence of the organic unity - despite the variety - ghost poetic. "

In the summer of 1591, the father Vincenzo passed away, leaving the burden of Galileo to take care of the maintenance of the entire family for the wedding of her sister Virginia, who married that same year, Galileo had to provide a dowry, contracting debts, as well as will have to do for the wedding of her sister Livia in 1601 and will have to spend more money to help the needs of the large family of his brother Michelangelo. Not enough the modest salary of sixty crowns a year, and on the eve of the expiry of his contract, Galileo turned back Guidobaldo Del Monte influential friend who recommended him to the prestigious University of Padua, where he was still vacant the chair of mathematics after his death, in 1588, by Professor Giuseppe Moletti.

On September 26, 1592 the authorities of the Republic of Venice enacted a decree of appointment, with a contract, extended, and four years with a salary of 180 florins a year. On December 7, Galileo gave the keynote speech at Padua, and after a few days he began a course designed to have a large following among students. We will remain for 18 years, which will define " them all the best eighteen years of my age."


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