Monday, December 6, 2010

Free Response Question #1

"Why are the trials and tribulations of Galileo often considered both predicative of the future of Western Civilization as well as a perfect encapsulation of the context of his own time?"


Galileo was a revolutionary scientist of the seventeenth century who was considered a father of the scientific revolution. His work with astronomy, physics, and methodology are still used today and opened many pathways for future scientists beyond Galileo; even though, much of Galileo's work was not readily accepted by the Europeans of his era. Galileo began his work as a professor of mathematics at the Perdua University in Italy. Here, he taught many students his ideas on physics and mechanics; however, it was also here that Galileo came up with many ideas for later scientific publications. Within his time, Galileo came up with advancements in astronomy, physics, and methodology that were beyond the knowledge of his fellow Europeans, but these ideas have served contemporary scientists with foundations for advancement.


Along with a few other European scientists, Galileo was apart of the scientific revolution, where there was a great improvement in physics, astronomy, mechanics, methodology, etc. Galileo, namely, was noted for his inventive ideas in astronomy, physics, and methodology. In 1609, Galileo produced an improvement of the telescope after hearing of its invention in Holland. With this telescope, Galileo observed the four phases of a moon of Venus, he better explained the surface of the moon, that the milky way is a cluster of starts, and many other astronomical advances that had not been justified. Astronomically, Galileo also proved that the solar system was not geocentric; the sun was the center of the solar system. This is stated in his Copernican Theory. With physics, Galileo disproved Aristotle with this laws of uniform acceleration. Galileo thought up the idea and taught to his students that the velocity of a falling object is independent of its mass; therefore, two objects falling at once will fall at the same rate despite the difference in their masses. With methodology, Galileo bettered the reasoning for experimentation. Galileo saw that the explanation of a phenomenon could be found if the phenomena was broken down into its most basic means. Many situations, Galileo presented, could be understood if they were dissected and analyzed by their individual axioms. Of the many original and improved ideas that Galileo thought of, these were a few that were most notable in his success. 


From the time of Galileo's death to today, scientists have been working to prove scientific ideas that often have a connection to Galileo's findings. Galileo came up with the a better telescope to observe the moon, and today people walk on the moon. Also, through the discovery of the sun as the center of the solar system, people have further represented the characteristics about each planet such as their orbit, gravitational pull, length of days, etc. With physics, people throughout history such as Einstein have came up with their laws of motion based on the masses and acceleration of objects. Einstein was around long after Galileo; however, their similar subject matter illustrated the advanced level of thinking that Galileo possessed. Many biologists and chemists today have used Galileo's methodology to get a better understanding of experiments. For example, with the muscles of the body, biologists have been able to better comprehend their movement by breaking down the motion into the basic-most means. On the contrary, scientists such as Descartes who came after Galileo disagreed with Galileo's methodology. Descartes found that the point of experimentation had strict purpose rather than to analyze a theory. In varying amounts of ways, Galileo's ideas have expanded into the thoughts of many proceeding scientists.


In the seventeenth century, the public confronted science based on personal assumptions or the assumptions of the church. Therefore, when Galileo came up with new ideas that often disproved the church, the proven reality of Europe was not readily accepted. In Galileo's Copernican theory, he solidified that the sun was the center of the universe. This went radically against the church and put Galileo up for Heresy. These astronomical ideas that Galileo did give up granted Galileo lifelong house arrest. It was here, however, that Galileo wrote texts that explained his ideas in physics and methodology to get published for the public, even though Galileo was forbidden from the church. Aristotle had presented the idea that objects fall in direct proportion to their weight and it had been from then on assumed as true. When Galileo disproved this, it was not until later that the ideas were published, but Galileo's ideas proved the reality that the public was not believing. Europeans of the seventeenth century were strictly bound to the church and were not relatively knowledgeable. With this, Galileo's proven ideas shaped a new reality that seemed advanced because the ideas of the public were assumed theories that were handed down into their knowledge.


Overall, Galileo founded numerous theories and inventions in the midst of the scientific revolution. Even though the ideas got Galileo into much trouble in his time, they laid out the reality of space and helped future scientists to create ideas. Galileo's ideas were an advancement of others or an origination of his own. Therefore, later scientists were given the opportunity to advance on Galileo's works as well. Because of this, many new experiments have been proven and science is an endless subject of proven and unproven ideas. Seventeenth century Europe was educated on scientific ideas that were not all justified until the scientific revolution that Galileo took such a large part in. In his work with astronomy, physics, and methodology, Galileo was able to map out Europe for his generation and he was able to lay down a path for the future generations of people to come. 

3 comments:

  1. Your had a good thesis and you supported it well, but I feel like you could have enhanced your paper by talking about some scientists he worked with in the first body paragraph, and also touching on his "trials and tribulations" in the first two body paragraphs instead of mostly the third: 8

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your thesis was really good and you had tons of clearly explained and very relevant examples. However, the question asks about his trials and tribulations, and you only talk about that in the end. You know the topic really well, but I think you could have added some more about the church and people against science in his time, or his lack of useful tools and resources(especially in comparison to today. Overall an 8! It was really good, I would just say add a few more touches:) haha

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your thesis statement only addresses half the question, namely the future. How does Galileo's struggle represent the realities of his own time as well? Think about the power structures in play in Europe at the time and consider the relationship between science and religion. 4

    ReplyDelete