On this day in Tudor history, 15th February 1564, the Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher, Galileo Galilei, was born in Pisa, Italy.
Galileo was one of the central figures of the Scientific Revolution and has been referred to as "the Father of Modern Science", "the Father of Modern Physics" and "the father of modern observational astronomy", but what exactly did he do and how did he end up getting into trouble with the Inquisition?
Find out in today's talk.
Also on this day in Tudor history, 15th February 1551, businessman Thomas Arden was finally successfully murdered after a few botched attempts on his life. Find out more about his murder, and the previous attempts, in last year’s video:
Also on this day in history:
- 1499 – Death of James Goldwell, Bishop of Norwich, at the bishop's palace in Hoxne, Suffolk. He was buried in Norwich Cathedral, in the chantry chapel.
- 1503 – Death of Henry Deane, administrator and Archbishop of Canterbury. As well as serving Henry VII as Archbishop, Deane also served as Chancellor of Ireland, Deputy Governor for Prince Henry and Keeper of the Great Seal. He died at Lambeth Palace and was buried at Canterbury Cathedral at a lavish funeral.
- 1536 – Death of Richard Rawlins, Bishop of St David's and former warden of Merton College.
- 1571 – Death of Sir Adrian Poynings, soldier. He served as a soldier in Boulogne from 1546 to 1550, when he was made Lieutenant of Calais Castle, then in the St Quentin campaign of 1557 and in Le Havre in 1562.
- 1598 – Death of John May, Bishop of Carlisle, at Rose Castle, his episcopal residence. He was buried in Carlisle Cathedral.
- 1616 – Death of Sir George Carey, Lord Deputy of Ireland. He was buried at Cockington, Devon.
On this day in Tudor history, 15th February 1564, the Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher, Galileo Galilei, was born in Pisa, Italy. He was the eldest child of musician, composer and music theorist Vincenzo Galilei and his wife Giulia.
Galileo considered becoming a priest, but instead studied at the University of Pisa, choosing medicine to start with, and then changing to mathematics and natural philosophy.
Galileo was one of the central figures of the Scientific Revolution and supported Copernicanism (the heliocentric model). He has been referred to as “the Father of Modern Science”, “the Father of Modern Physics” and “the father of modern observational astronomy”. He is also known for his discovery of the Galilean Moons (Jupiter's satellites Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto), his improved military compass and his work on the telescope, which allowed Jupiter’s satellites to be seen, as well as the moon’s mountains.
But what else did Galileo do?
• He created a hydrostatic balance to measure the density of objects.
• He invented the thermoscope, a forerunner of the thermometer.
• He invented Galileo’s pump, a device for raising water using only a single horse.
• He began work on a pendulum clock but died before his design was finished.
• He saw that the Milky Way was not just a band of light, but was made up of stars.
Trivia: Galileo had three illegitimate children, two daughters and a son, by Marina Gamba.
In 1633, he was tried for heresy by the Inquisition for his view that he earth revolved around the sun, which he’d made public in his 1632 work “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems - Ptolemaic and Copernican”. The Catholic Church promoted the belief that the Earth was at the centre of the universe and that all the heavenly bodies revolved around the earth. He was found guilty, forced to publicly recant and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.
Galileo died in Arcetri, near Florence, on 8th January 1642, aged 77.
I’ll leave you with a Galileo quote. It’s taken from his 1615 letter to the Grand Duchess Christina, in which he was defending science against those who attacked it on the grounds of religion:
“But I do not feel obliged to believe that that same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended to forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them. He would not require us to deny sense and reason in physical matters which are set before our eyes and minds by direct experience or necessary demonstrations.”