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Table of Contents
Galileo Galilei was an Italian scholar best known for his scientific contributions in physics, astronomy, cosmology and philosophy. He is considered the Father of Modern Science and was known to support the idea of Copernicus and that of a heliocentric universe.
See the fact file below for more information on the Galileo Galilei or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Galileo Galilei worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Early Life and Interests
- On February 15, 1564, Galileo Galilei was born in Florence, Italy, to Vincenzo Galilei, a musician, and Giulia Ammannati. Young Galileo studied at the Camaldolese monastery located in Vallombrosa. As a child, he exhibited high intelligence and curiosity for various subject matters, especially science and mathematics.
- In 1583, he enrolled at the University of Pisa to study medicine. While studying, he was exposed to Aristotelian views, which were the leading authority in scientific knowledge at the time. Two years later, he left school due to financial difficulties.
- In order to make a living, Galileo accepted minor teaching positions while studying mathematics.
- By 1600, he met a Venetian woman named Marina Gamba with whom he had three children out of wedlock.
Galileo’s Scientific Experiments and Career
- In 1589, Galileo returned to the University of Pisa as a professor. It was at the same time that he conducted experiments on falling objects and wrote Du Motu, or On Motion. Despite his successful experiments, Galileo was rejected by his contemporaries due to his criticisms of Aristotle.
- He moved to the University of Padua and taught geometry, astronomy, and mechanics for 18 years. During that time, he gave lectures to large crowds, making him famous.
- In 1609, Galileo devised a telescope, which was an improved version of Hans Lippershey’s spyglass. He initially sold his own telescopes to Venetian merchants to help them spot incoming ships.
- Galileo created a telescope that could magnify images from 8 to 30 times versus the spyglass at 3 times. Shortly after, he started documenting astrological findings. He became the first man to observe the craters of the moon, sunspots, phases of the planet Venus, the rings of Saturn, and the moons of Jupiter.
- His observations helped him realize that not all objects in space revolve around Earth. This was in opposition to what was accepted by the Church during those times. He believed that Earth was not the center of the universe, compared to Aristotle’s geocentric theory.
- Galileo wrote Siderius Nuncius, or The Starry Messenger, detailing his observations of the moon’s surface and the stars.
- Galileo’s observation of Jupiter’s massive moons was probably his most famous telescopic observation. Today, Io, Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto are known as the Galilean moons of Jupiter.
- In 1612, Galileo published his Discourse on Bodies of Water where he refuted Aristotelian explanations of why things float in water. Galileo theorized that objects float in water due to the relation of their weight to that of water and not because of their flat shape, as first theorized by Aristotle.
- By 1615, the Catholic Church declared that all knowledge opposing Aristotle’s geocentrism was heresy. After a year of continuous support for Copernican theory, Galileo was summoned to Rome and told not to write or teach his theories.
- In 1635, he published Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. It was about a discussion of three people with views on geocentrism and heliocentrism. Shortly after, Galileo was found guilty of heresy and was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life.
Later Life, Legacy, and Death
- While under house arrest, copies of Galileo’s Dialogue were published in Holland. In addition, his work regarding the effects of forces on the matter was translated and published in French.
- In 1638, he wrote Two New Sciences, which was published in Holland.
- On January 8, 1642, Galileo died in Arcetri, near Florence, Italy, after experiencing heart palpitations and fever. By the time of his death, Galileo was blind.
- In 1744, the Catholic Church could not deny the truth of science, so they lifted their ban on Galileo’s works, and by 1758, all works supporting Copernican theory were no longer prohibited.
- Many 20th-century popes acknowledge the work of Galileo. Pope Pius XII and Pope John Paul II expressed their regret about how Galileo was treated by the Church.
- Galileo’s On Motion is now universally accepted knowledge on theories regarding falling objects and the universal law of acceleration in physics.
- His work on microscopes also helped biology.
- Enlightenment thinker Voltaire often used tales of Galileo’s trial against the Church.
Galileo Galilei Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Galileo Galilei across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Galileo Galilei worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Galileo Galilei who was an Italian scholar best known for his scientific contributions to physics, astronomy, cosmology, and philosophy. He is considered the Father of Modern Science and was known to support the idea of Copernicus and that of a heliocentric universe.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Galileo Galilei Facts
- Father of Modern Science
- Beyond the Skies
- Galileo’s Telescope
- Galileo and Physics
- Great Minds
- Renaissance to Scientific Revolution
- System’s of the Universe
- The Night Sky
- Galileo Says
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