Galileo as heaven goes

Galileo Galilei

The way to science

Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa on February 15, 1564. His father, Vincenzio Galilei (1520-1591), is a Florentine and one of the patricians of the city. In 1575 the Galilei family moved to Florence. After finishing school in a monastery, Galileo Galilei studied medicine in Pisa for four years. According to tradition, he later carried out experiments on the laws of fall on the Leaning Tower.

The laws of motion in physics occupied him all his life. For example, he discovers that all bodies - regardless of what material they are made of - fall to the ground at the same speed, unless they have different air resistance due to different surfaces.

In 1589 Galileo accepted a position as lecturer in mathematics in Pisa. In 1592 he was appointed professor of mathematics at the University of Padua.

The telescope

On August 21, 1609, Galileo showed seven Venetian patricians, chaired by Procurator Antonio Priuli, a telescope that he had improved on the Campanile of San Marco. The invention actually comes from Holland - but Galileo hides that.

According to contemporary descriptions, the telescope is a 60 centimeter long tube made of tinplate, the outside covered with crimson fabric. It has a convex and a concave lens so that the patricians can perceive distant objects as clearly as they normally would only up close. An innovation that arouses astonishment.

Three days after the demonstration on the bell tower in San Marco, Galileo gives his telescope to the Signoria, the Council of Venice. As a reward, the city-state authorities appoint him full professor of mathematics for life and at the same time double his annual salary.

Trial of Galileo

1609 is also the year in which the German astronomer Johannes Kepler published his theories about the movement of planets around the sun. Galileo adopts this model. The construction of his telescope enables him to observe the sky, as a result of which he describes the mountains on the moon's surface, discovers sunspots, Saturn's rings and four moons of Jupiter.

All of this confirms the Copernican model, according to which the earth revolves around the sun - and not the other way around, as the Catholic Church continues to claim. Galileo is targeted by the Inquisition.

In 1611 he decided to travel to Rome to convince the higher church authorities of the correctness of the heliocentric worldview. The attempt fails. In 1613 Galileo wrote a letter to the Benedictine Castelli, describing how he imagined the relationship between the Bible and the heliocentric system - an invitation to reinterpret the Holy Scriptures.

After violent disputes, the church forbids all doctrine in 1616. Galileo formally adheres to the prohibition.

Careful attempts to use the text "Il Saggiatore" ("Examiner with the gold scales") to induce the new Pope Urban VIII to enter into dialogue are unsuccessful. When Galileo published the "Dialogue on the Two Most Important World Systems" in 1632, in which representatives of both worldviews discussed with each other, the cardinals hit back. All of Galileo's writings are forbidden. In a process, the Inquisition in Rome in 1633 forces him to revoke it.

"And yet she is moving"

It is a legend that at the end of his trial Galileo is said to have mumbled through clenched teeth, "And it [the earth] does move" is a legend. But the new teaching moves the scientific world - even among clerics, at least Galileo's achievement is respected. However, it wasn't until 1992 that the Vatican recognized that the trial of Galileo was injustice.

Galileo's scientific contribution lies not only in his discoveries, but also in his experimental approach. In the last years of his life, under house arrest in his country house in Arcetri near Florence, he wrote down the experimentally gained knowledge in his main work "Conversation and mathematical demonstration" and had the book smuggled out of the country. Galileo dies, almost blind, on January 8, 1642 in Arcetri.