The Story of the Cosmos - Galileo Galilei

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Galileo Galilei

Not long after, arrived Galileo,  in 1564, with telescopes new on the scene, he built a better one 30 times stronger than those available, he saw Venus go through phases as does our Moon around us, clear evidence it orbited the Sun and therefore was able to evidence the Sun  did not revolve around the Earth, Earth revolved around the Sun . He too was not to fare well with the church, had to renounce his findings and was put under house arrest for the remainder of his life.

Although Copernicus postulated and Kepler did the math, Galileo  revealed it all through scientific evidencable observation.

Centuries of Church dogma was now plainly wrong. The Church at the time was also under attack from the Protestant Reformation. The bible was now to become the message of ‘How to go to Heaven’ not ‘How the Heavens go’.

Galileo  is considered the first modern scientist.

Galileo ’s last published work dealt with the properties of falling bodies, which he noted, always fell at the same rate no matter their mass, but that was going to be up to Newton to sort out.

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His father was the musician Vincenzo Galilei. Galileo Galilei's mistress Marina Gamba (1570 – 21 August 1612?) bore him two daughters (Maria Celeste (Virginia, 1600–1634) and Livia (1601–1659), both of whom became nuns) and a son Vincenzo (1606–1649), a lutenist.

Galileo Galilei (Italian pronunciation: [ɡaliˈlɛːo ɡaliˈlɛi]; 15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642), often known mononymously as Galileo, was an Italian physicist, mathematician, engineer, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the scientific revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism. Galileo has been called the "father of modern observational astronomy", the "father of modern physics", the "father of science", and "the Father of Modern Science".

His contributions to observational astronomy include the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter (named the Galilean moons in his honour), and the observation and analysis of sunspots. Galileo also worked in applied science and technology, inventing an improved military compass and other instruments.

Galileo's championing of heliocentrism was controversial within his lifetime, when most subscribed to either geocentrism or the Tychonic system. He met with opposition from astronomers, who doubted heliocentrism due to the absence of an observed stellar parallax. The matter was investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, which concluded that heliocentrism was false and contrary to scripture, placing works advocating the Copernican system on the index of banned books and forbidding Galileo from advocating heliocentrism. Galileo later defended his views in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, which appeared to attack Pope Urban VIII, thus alienating not only the Pope but also the Jesuits, who had both supported Galileo up until this point. He was tried by the Holy Office, then found "vehemently suspect of heresy", was forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. It was while Galileo was under house arrest that he wrote one of his finest works, Two New Sciences, in which he summarised the work he had done some forty years earlier, on the two sciences now called kinematics and strength of materials.

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Galileo - Battle for the Heavens

 

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Early life

Galileo was born in Pisa (then part of the Duchy of Florence), Italy in 1564, the first of six children of Vincenzo Galilei, a famous lutenist, composer, and music theorist; and Giulia Ammannati. Galileo became an accomplished lutenist himself and would have learned early from his father a healthy scepticism for established authority, the value of well-measured or quantified experimentation, an appreciation for a periodic or musical measure of time or rhythm, as well as the illuminative progeny to expect from a marriage of mathematics and experiment. Three of Galileo's five siblings survived infancy, and the youngest Michelangelo (or Michelagnolo) also became a noted lutenist and composer, although he contributed to financial burdens during Galileo's young adulthood. Michelangelo was incapable of contributing his fair share for their father's promised dowries to their brothers-in-law, who would later attempt to seek legal remedies for payments due. Michelangelo would also occasionally have to borrow funds from Galileo for support of his musical endeavours and excursions. These financial burdens may have contributed to Galileo's early fire to develop inventions that would bring him additional income.

Galileo was named after an ancestor, Galileo Bonaiuti, a physician, university teacher and politician who lived in Florence from 1370 to 1450; at that time in the late 14th century, the family's surname shifted from Bonaiuti (or Buonaiuti) to Galilei. Galileo Bonaiuti was buried in the same church, the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence, where about 200 years later his more famous descendant Galileo Galilei was also buried. When Galileo Galilei was 8, his family moved to Florence, but he was left with Jacopo Borghini for two years. He then was educated in the Camaldolese Monastery at Vallombrosa, 35 km southeast of Florence.

Although a genuinely pious Roman Catholic, Galileo fathered three children out of wedlock with Marina Gamba. They had two daughters, Virginia in 1600 and Livia in 1601, and one son, Vincenzo, in 1606. Because of their illegitimate birth, their father considered the girls unmarriageable, if not posing problems of prohibitively expensive support or dowries, which would have been similar to Galileo's previous extensive financial problems with two of his sisters. Their only worthy alternative was the religious life. Both girls were accepted by the convent of San Matteo in Arcetri and remained there for the rest of their lives. Virginia took the name Maria Celeste upon entering the convent. She died on 2 April 1634 and is buried with Galileo at the Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence. Livia took the name Sister Arcangela and was ill for most of her life. Vincenzo was later legitimised as the legal heir of Galileo, and married Sestilia Bocchineri.

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Career as a scientist

Although he seriously considered the priesthood as a young man, at his father's urging he instead enrolled at the University of Pisa for a medical degree. In 1581, when he was studying medicine, he noticed a swinging chandelier, which air currents shifted about to swing in larger and smaller arcs. It seemed, by comparison with his heartbeat, that the chandelier took the same amount of time to swing back and forth, no matter how far it was swinging. When he returned home, he set up two pendulums of equal length and swung one with a large sweep and the other with a small sweep and found that they kept time together. It was not until Christiaan Huygens almost one hundred years later, however, that the tautochrone nature of a swinging pendulum was used to create an accurate timepiece. To this point, he had deliberately been kept away from mathematics (since a physician earned so much more than a mathematician), but upon accidentally attending a lecture on geometry, he talked his reluctant father into letting him study mathematics and natural philosophy instead. He created a thermoscope (forerunner of the thermometer) and in 1586 published a small book on the design of a hydrostatic balance he had invented (which first brought him to the attention of the scholarly world). Galileo also studied disegno, a term encompassing fine art, and in 1588 attained an instructor position in the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence, teaching perspective and chiaroscuro. Being inspired by the artistic tradition of the city and the works of the Renaissance artists, Galileo acquired an aesthetic mentality. While a young teacher at the Accademia, he began a lifelong friendship with the Florentine painter Cigoli, who included Galileo's lunar observations in one of his paintings.

In 1589, he was appointed to the chair of mathematics in Pisa. In 1591, his father died and he was entrusted with the care of his younger brother Michelagnolo. In 1592, he moved to the University of Padua, teaching geometry, mechanics, and astronomy until 1610. During this period, Galileo made significant discoveries in both pure fundamental science (for example, kinematics of motion and astronomy) as well as practical applied science (for example, strength of materials and improvement of the telescope). His multiple interests included the study of astrology, which at the time was a discipline tied to the studies of mathematics and astronomy.

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Galileo, Kepler and theories of tides

Cardinal Bellarmine had written in 1615 that the Copernican system could not be defended without "a true physical demonstration that the sun does not circle the earth but the earth circles the sun". Galileo considered his theory of the tides to provide the required physical proof of the motion of the earth. This theory was so important to him that he originally intended to entitle his Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems the Dialogue on the Ebb and Flow of the Sea. The reference to tides was removed by order of the Inquisition.

For Galileo, the tides were caused by the sloshing back and forth of water in the seas as a point on the Earth's surface sped up and slowed down because of the Earth's rotation on its axis and revolution around the Sun. He circulated his first account of the tides in 1616, addressed to Cardinal Orsini. His theory gave the first insight into the importance of the shapes of ocean basins in the size and timing of tides; he correctly accounted, for instance, for the negligible tides halfway along the Adriatic Sea compared to those at the ends. As a general account of the cause of tides, however, his theory was a failure.

If this theory were correct, there would be only one high tide per day. Galileo and his contemporaries were aware of this inadequacy because there are two daily high tides at Venice instead of one, about twelve hours apart. Galileo dismissed this anomaly as the result of several secondary causes, including the shape of the sea, its depth, and other factors. Against the assertion that Galileo was deceptive in making these arguments, Albert Einstein expressed the opinion that Galileo developed his "fascinating arguments" and accepted them uncritically out of a desire for physical proof of the motion of the Earth. Galileo dismissed the idea, held by his contemporary Johannes Kepler, that the moon caused the tides. He also refused to accept Kepler's elliptical orbits of the planets, considering the circle the "perfect" shape for planetary orbits.

Kepler

 

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Controversy over comets and The Assayer

In 1619, Galileo became embroiled in a controversy with Father Orazio Grassi, professor of mathematics at the Jesuit Collegio Romano. It began as a dispute over the nature of comets, but by the time Galileo had published The Assayer (Il Saggiatore) in 1623, his last salvo in the dispute, it had become a much wider argument over the very nature of science itself. Because The Assayer contains such a wealth of Galileo's ideas on how science should be practised, it has been referred to as his scientific manifesto. Early in 1619, Father Grassi had anonymously published a pamphlet, An Astronomical Disputation on the Three Comets of the Year 1618,  which discussed the nature of a comet that had appeared late in November of the previous year. Grassi concluded that the comet was a fiery body which had moved along a segment of a great circle at a constant distance from the earth, and since it moved in the sky more slowly than the moon, it must be farther away than the moon.

Grassi's arguments and conclusions were criticised in a subsequent article, Discourse on the Comets, published under the name of one of Galileo's disciples, a Florentine lawyer named Mario Guiducci, although it had been largely written by Galileo himself. Galileo and Guiducci offered no definitive theory of their own on the nature of comets, although they did present some tentative conjectures that are now known to be mistaken. In its opening passage, Galileo and Guiducci's Discourse gratuitously insulted the Jesuit Christopher Scheiner, and various uncomplimentary remarks about the professors of the Collegio Romano were scattered throughout the work. The Jesuits were offended, and Grassi soon replied with a polemical tract of his own, The Astronomical and Philosophical Balance, under the pseudonym Lothario Sarsio Sigensano, purporting to be one of his own pupils.

The Assayer was Galileo's devastating reply to the Astronomical Balance. It has been widely regarded as a masterpiece of polemical literature, in which "Sarsi's" arguments are subjected to withering scorn. It was greeted with wide acclaim, and particularly pleased the new pope, Urban VIII, to whom it had been dedicated. Galileo's dispute with Grassi permanently alienated many of the Jesuits who had previously been sympathetic to his ideas, and Galileo and his friends were convinced that these Jesuits were responsible for bringing about his later condemnation. The evidence for this is at best equivocal, however.

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Controversy over heliocentrism

In the Catholic world prior to Galileo's conflict with the Church, the majority of educated people subscribed to the Aristotelian geocentric view that the earth was the center of the universe and that all heavenly bodies revolved around the Earth, despite the use of Copernican theories to reform the calendar in 1582. Biblical references Psalm 93:1, 96:10, and 1 Chronicles 16:30 include text stating that "the world is firmly established, it cannot be moved." In the same manner, Psalm 104:5 says, "the Lord set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved." Further, Ecclesiastes 1:5 states that "And the sun rises and sets and returns to its place."

Galileo defended heliocentrism, and in his Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina argued that it was not contrary to passages in Scripture. He took the Augustinian position that poetry, songs, and instructions or historical statements in Scripture need not always be interpreted literally. Galileo argued that the writers of the Scripture wrote from the perspective of the terrestrial world in which the sun does rise and set. In this way Galileo claimed that Scripture discussed a different kind of "movement" of the earth, and not rotations.

By 1615 Galileo's writings on heliocentrism had been submitted to the Roman Inquisition, and his efforts to interpret scripture seen as a violation of the Council of Trent. Attacks on the ideas of Copernicus had reached a head, and Galileo went to Rome to defend himself and Copernican ideas. In 1616, an Inquisitorial commission unanimously declared heliocentrism to be "foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture." The Inquisition found that the idea of the Earth's movement "receives the same judgement in philosophy and... in regard to theological truth it is at least erroneous in faith." (The original document from the Inquisitorial commission was made widely available in 2014.)

Pope Paul V instructed Cardinal Bellarmine to deliver this finding to Galileo, and to order him to abandon the Copernican opinions. On February 26, Galileo was called to Bellarmine's residence and ordered to abstain completely from teaching or defending this doctrine and opinion or from discussing it... to abandon completely... the opinion that the sun stands still at the center of the world and the earth moves, and henceforth not to hold, teach, or defend it in any way whatever, either orally or in writing.

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The Inquisition's injunction against Galileo, 1616.

The decree of the Congregation of the Index banned Copernicus's De Revolutionibus and other heliocentric works until correction. Bellarmine's instructions did not prohibit Galileo from discussing heliocentrism as a mathematical fiction.

For the next decade, Galileo stayed well away from the controversy. He revived his project of writing a book on the subject, encouraged by the election of Cardinal Maffeo Barberini as Pope Urban VIII in 1623. Barberini was a friend and admirer of Galileo, and had opposed the condemnation of Galileo in 1616. Galileo's resulting book, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, was published in 1632, with formal authorization from the Inquisition and papal permission.

Earlier, Pope Urban VIII had personally asked Galileo to give arguments for and against heliocentrism in the book, and to be careful not to advocate heliocentrism. He made another request, that his own views on the matter be included in Galileo's book. Only the latter of those requests was fulfilled by Galileo. Whether unknowingly or deliberately, Simplicio, the defender of the Aristotelian Geocentric view in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, was often caught in his own errors and sometimes came across as a fool. Indeed, although Galileo states in the preface of his book that the character is named after a famous Aristotelian philosopher (Simplicius in Latin, Simplicio in Italian), the name "Simplicio" in Italian also has the connotation of "simpleton". This portrayal of Simplicio made Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems appear as an advocacy book: an attack on Aristotelian geocentrism and defence of the Copernican theory. Unfortunately for his relationship with the Pope, Galileo put the words of Urban VIII into the mouth of Simplicio. Most historians agree Galileo did not act out of malice and felt blindsided by the reaction to his book. However, the Pope did not take the suspected public ridicule lightly, nor the Copernican advocacy. Galileo had alienated one of his biggest and most powerful supporters, the Pope, and was called to Rome to defend his writings.

In September 1632, Galileo was ordered to come to Rome to stand trial. He finally arrived in February 1633 and was brought before inquisitor Vincenzo Maculani to be charged. Throughout his trial Galileo steadfastly maintained that since 1616 he had faithfully kept his promise not to hold any of the condemned opinions, and initially he denied even defending them. However, he was eventually persuaded to admit that, contrary to his true intention, a reader of his Dialogue could well have obtained the impression that it was intended to be a defence of Copernicanism. In view of Galileo's rather implausible denial that he had ever held Copernican ideas after 1616 or ever intended to defend them in the Dialogue, his final interrogation, in July 1633, concluded with his being threatened with torture if he did not tell the truth, but he maintained his denial despite the threat. The sentence of the Inquisition was delivered on June 22. It was in three essential parts:

Galileo was found "vehemently suspect of heresy", namely of having held the opinions that the Sun lies motionless at the centre of the universe, that the Earth is not at its centre and moves, and that one may hold and defend an opinion as probable after it has been declared contrary to Holy Scripture. He was required to "abjure, curse and detest" those opinions.

He was sentenced to formal imprisonment at the pleasure of the Inquisition. On the following day this was commuted to house arrest, which he remained under for the rest of his life.

His offending Dialogue was banned; and in an action not announced at the trial, publication of any of his works was forbidden, including any he might write in the future.

According to popular legend, after recanting his theory that the Earth moved around the Sun, Galileo allegedly muttered the rebellious phrase And yet it moves, but the only evidence that he ever said this comes from a 1640s painting in which the words were hidden until restoration work in 1911. The first written account of the legend dates to a century after his death.

After a period with the friendly Ascanio Piccolomini (the Archbishop of Siena), Galileo was allowed to return to his villa at Arcetri near Florence in 1634, where he spent the remainder of his life under house arrest. Galileo was ordered to read the seven penitential psalms once a week for the next three years. However his daughter Maria Celeste relieved him of the burden after securing ecclesiastical permission to take it upon herself. It was while Galileo was under house arrest that he dedicated his time to one of his finest works, Two New Sciences. Here he summarised work he had done some forty years earlier, on the two sciences now called kinematics and strength of materials, published in Holland to avoid the censor. This book has received high praise from Albert Einstein. As a result of this work, Galileo is often called the "father of modern physics". He went completely blind in 1638 and was suffering from a painful hernia and insomnia, so he was permitted to travel to Florence for medical advice.

Author Dava Sobel argues that prior to Galileo's 1633 trial and judgement for heresy, Pope Urban VIII had become preoccupied with court intrigue and problems of state, and began to fear persecution or threats to his own life. In this context, Sobel argues that the problem of Galileo was presented to the pope by court insiders and enemies of Galileo. Having been accused of weakness in defending the church, Urban reacted against Galileo out of anger and fear.

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