Celebrating The Brilliant Yet Tragic Life Of Galileo, The Father Of Modern Physics, On His Birth Anniversary

Galileo Galilei, also called as the father of modern physics, was born on 15 February 1564. His contribution to science, especially in Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy, earned him as a key figure for the revolution of science during the 16th-17th century as well as laid a strong foundation for the future scientists.

His Discoveries And Inventions In Physics

One of the most important discoveries of this prominent scientist is the law of falling bodies which states that objects fall at the same speed regardless of their weights or shapes. This experiment proved Aristotle’s theory wrong. He calculated that the distance an object travels is proportional to the square of the time it takes to reach the ground. He was then a lecturer in Pisa when he made his breakthrough in the study of the centre of gravity. He established that in the absence of air resistance, gravity accelerates all objects equally, irrespective of their masses.

He was the first to develop the concept of inertia, the state where an object remains at rest or in motion until some other force acts on it. One of the most interesting facts is that he never invented the telescope. However, he made an improved version of the original Dutch versions of the instrument which resulted in some astounding discoveries of all time.

He observed the sun through his telescope and deduced that the sun had dark and that it rotates on its axis. Furthermore, in 1610 he observed four points of light that changed their positions with time around the planet Jupiter concluding that these are the objects in orbit around Jupiter and he called them the Medicea Siderea meaning the “Medicean Stars”.

His observing into the heavens through his telescope made tremendous discoveries. Galileo was also the first person to see that craters on the moon, tracked the phases of Venus and the rings of Saturn and revealed that the  Milky Way was composed of stars. In 1598, he designed his own geometric and military compass known as a sector that consists of two rulers attached at right angles with a third, curved ruler between them. In addition to the compass, he also invented the thermometer.

Galileo also worked on the motions of the pendulum. He believed that an accurate time keeping was virtually non-existent but the steady motion of a pendulum could improve this. So, he determined that the time a pendulum takes to swing back and forth does not depend on the arc of the swing. Later in his life, he designed his own pendulum clock.

Impact Of His Contributions

Galileo’s groundbreaking work on “Dialogue of the Two Principal Systems of the World” was opposed by the church and resulted in to stand a trial before the Inquisition in Rome and was forced to publicly repent and sentenced to life imprisonment. This was later changed to house arrest where he was barred from seeing any friends or publishing his books. Nonetheless, Galileo somehow he managed to smuggle out and published the book about physics and mechanics, titled, Discourses and Mathematical Demonstrations Concerning Two New Sciences in 1638. Tragically for him, he went totally blind later that year.

One of the most prolific physicists of all time, Galileo’s accomplishments had many rough turns from getting into a serious confrontation with the Roman Catholic Church to spending the rest of his life under house arrest. There is no doubt that he helped in revolutionising the fields of astronomy and classical physics. He had many other experiments as well as theories that were beneficial for development in the field of physics. He died at the age of 77 on 8 January 1642

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