Thursday, December 2, 2010

Galileo

  • born: near Pisa 1564
  • professor of mathematics in Pisa
  • professor of mathematics at University of Padua
  • here he experimented on the speed at which objects fall, mechanics, and pendulums
  • 1609-heard about the discovery of the telescope in Holland
  • built a better one that lead to the discovery of 
    • mountains and valleys on the moon, sunspots, the four largest moons of the planet Jupiter, and the phases of Venus
  • 1614-came up with the Copernican Theory-the sun is the center of the solar system
    • accused of heresy (against the church)
    • people believed that earth was the center of the solar system so this was revolutionary
  • 1616-forbidden by the church
  • 1632- proposed his book the "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems"
    • set of arguments published that were for and against the Capernican Theory
    • accused of heresy and was sentences to life imprisonment but that was reduced to permanent house arrest
    • forced to publicly withdraw his support for the theory
  • continued to write
  • 1638- "Discourses Concerning Two New Sciences" was published
    • presented laws of motion and principals of mechanics
  • died in 1642

Effect on Europe
  • his experimental method
  • believed that purpose of experimentation was not to get information but to test a theory and the success of a test method
  • phenomena should be analyzed mechanically 
  • every phenomenon is a result of a combination of basic phenomena and universal axioms
  • if proven theorems are applied to a larger phenomenon, it can be explained why a phenomenon occurs in the way it does
  • answer to a scientific phenomenon can in other words be found by reducing it to the simplest terms on the basis of matter and motion
  • only the most basic events occur because of one axiom
  • this influences many scientists to come such as 
    • Descartes who analyzed Galileo's methods and experiments to come up with a counterargument
  • Galileo's method also helped chemists and biologists to explain the motions of the body on the basis of matter, motion, energy, and basic principals

  • for most people of the 17th century Galileo was like a hero to them
  • hero of modern science
  • Galileo discovered many things: 
    • with his telescope, he first saw the moons of Jupiter and the mountains on the Moon; 
    • he determined the parabolic path of projectiles and calculated the law of free fall on the basis of experiment.
    • He is known for defending and making popular the Copernican system,
    •  using the telescope to examine the heavens,
    •  inventing the microscope, dropping stones from towers and masts,
    •  playing with pendula and clocks,
    •  being the first ‘real’ experimental scientist,
    •  advocating the relativity of motion, and creating a mathematical physics.
    •  His major claim to fame probably comes from his trial by the Catholic Inquisition and his purported role as heroic rational, modern man in the subsequent history of the ‘warfare’ between science and religion
    • http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/galileo/
  • began the scientific revolution
  • Galileo's work into three or four parts: 
    • (1) his physics, 
    • (2) his astronomy, and 
    • (3) his methodology, which could include his method of Biblical interpretation and his thoughts about the nature of proof or demonstration. In this tradition, typical treatments dealt with his physical and astronomical discoveries and their background and/or who were Galileo's predecessors
  • the church forbade his work becuase it went against the scientific assumptions of the people

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