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Galileo Galileo 1564-1642 was an Italian physicist and astronomer who with the German astronomer Johannes Kepler initiated the scientific revolution that flowered in the work of the English physicist Sir Isaac Newton Born Galileo Galilei his main contributions were in astronomy the use of the telescope in observation and the discovery of sunspots lunar mountains and valleys the four largest satellites of Jupiter and the phases of Venus In physics he discovered the laws of falling bodies and the motions of projectiles In the history of culture Galileo stands as a symbol of the battle against authority for freedom of inquiry Galileo was born near Pisa on February 15 1564 His father Vincenzo Galilei played an important role in the musical revolution from medieval polyphony to harmonic modulation Just as Vincenzo saw that rigid theory stifled new forms in music so his eldest son came to see Aristotelian physical theology as limiting scientific inquiry Galileo was taught by monks at Vallombrosa and then entered the University of Pisa in 1581 to study medicine He soon turned to philosophy and mathematics leaving the university without a degree in 1585 For a time he tutored privately and wrote on hydrostatics and natural motions but he did not publish In 1589 he became the professor of mathematics at Pisa where he is reported to have shown his students the error of Aristotles belief that speed of fall is proportional to weight by dropping two objects of different weight simultaneously from the Leaning Tower His contract was not renewed in 1592 probably because he contradicted Aristotelian professors The same year he was appointed to the chair of mathematics at the University of Padua where he remained until 1610 At Padua Galileo invented a calculating compass for the practical solution of mathematical problems He turned from speculative physics to careful measurements discovered the law of falling bodies and of the parabolic path of projectiles studied the motions of pendulums and
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