Laatste update op 18 November 2017
15 February 1564 Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa, Italy (1564-1642). You probably know the town from the tilted tower. According to the Dutch Observatory (Volkssterrenwacht) Galileo was a brilliant theoreticus amongst other things as a skilled inventor, an experimental instrument builder and a meticulous observer.
Galileo was raised by his father until he was 11. His dad did not have a lot of money and so Galileo had to go to a monastery school. Nevertheless his dad collected him after three years and as from 1581 Galileo studied medicine at the University of Pisa. However, his passion was reserved for mathematics and physics. Soon he worked on all sorts of mathematical experiments. He was very keen on studying the sky. Through his ‘Il bilancetta’ in which he describes his experiments, he receives appreciation and recognition in the world of science.
Telescope & campanile
The telescope is from origine a Dutch invention (the “Hollandschen Kijcker”). Galilei improved the technique of the “kijcker” (viewer) and started building his own viewers with diaphragm. This is how he became the first to discover things in the universe, like the sunspots, the moons of Jupiter and the craters on the moon.
In 1609 Galileo demonstrated the doge how the telescope worked. He did that up in the Campanile of Venice at the Piazza San Marco. Het must have shown it to the 90th Doge, Leonardo Donato. According to Wikipedia the Doge financed Galileo’s study of the universe. In his work ‘ Sidereus Nuncius’ (“messenger of the stars”) from 1610, Galileao describes his findings. However, not everbody could equally appreciate his assumptions. The insight that the earth was not flat, but round like a ball en in addition not the center of the universe, was very controversial. Eventually he would end up in prison for his view as they were not in accordance with what the church wanted to hear.