Galileo (Dictionary of World Biography: The 17th and 18th Centuries)
Article abstract: Galileo helped establish the modern scientific method through his use of observation and experimentation. His work in mathematics, physics, and astronomy made him a leading figure of the early scientific revolution.
Galileo Galilei was the first of seven children born to Vincenzo Galilei and Giulia Ammanati. His father was a cloth merchant as well as a noted musician who wrote several treatises on musical theory. The Galileis were a noble Florentine family that over the years had lost much of its wealth. It was for financial reasons that Vincenzo left Florence and moved to Pisa to establish his textile trade.
At the age of ten, Galileo and his family returned to Florence. His early education was directed by his father with the help of a private tutor. He also spent some time at the monastery of Santa Maria di Vallombrosa. The content of Galileo’s elementary education is unknown, but it was probably humanistic in character. His father urged him to pursue university studies which would lead to a lucrative profession.
Following his father’s wish, Galileo enrolled as a student of medicine at the University of Pisa in 1581. He showed little interest in his medical studies; it was mathematics that captured his attention. A year after enrolling at the university, Galileo made his legendary discovery of the isochronal movement of pendulums by observing a chandelier in the...
(The entire section is 2055 words.)
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