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This paper is about Galileo. He is greatly considered as father of science. He went to study medicine at the University of Pisa, but opted to study mathematics instead. His invention of the telescope did prove to be an asset. He used it in most of his scientific discoveries. Galileo used to look up in the heavens and devote his time studying planets. However, during his time, Galileo met a lot of criticism especially from the Catholic Church. This paper looks at his discoveries from various angles.
Galileo Galilei was an Italian astronomer, physicist, philosopher and mathematician, who became instrumental in the Scientific Revolution. He had numerous achievements, for example, he supported Copernicanism, improved the telescope and involved in consequent astronomical observations (White, 2007).
In December 1610, Galileo found out that Venus went through phases, just like the moon. This later became an important evidence for the Copernican system. It suggested that Venus went round the sun just like the earth went round the moon. In his piece of writing known as The Starry Messenger, Galileo became the first scientist to publish a treatise based on various observations through a telescope. Using the telescope, he reported to having discovered the Galilean moons. He also discovered that the moon surface was rough, and there existed a huge number of stars that were not visible to the naked eye, for example, those that do form the Milky Way. Moreover, he discovered that there was a difference between how planets appeared and those of stars that were fixed.
By staying close to the church, Galileo made some of them look into his works and the telescope to see the truth behind his discoveries. In one of his discoveries, Galileo saw that the phases of Venus did occur due to the fact that the sun was between the earth and Venus. The surface of the moon did suggest that the earth was among the other planets. The moons he saw in Jupiter implied that the other planets had satellites that orbited them as the planets themselves orbited around the sun. This piece of evidence is what convinced Galileo that the Copernican system was a fact and not a theory (White, 2007).
Galileo was very innovative when he applied mathematics to experimental physics. Notably, his mathematical methods and calculations were the standard ones of his day. His analysis and proofs was based on the Eudoxian theory of proportion. Galileo expounded on it and by the time he died, it was superseded by algebraic methods of Descartes (Drake, 1957). Galileo contributed a lot to science in the 17th century because he appreciated that mathematics was the key to understanding Nature. Galileo did produce one piece of work that seemed to be prophetic in mathematics. It came to be known as Galileo's paradox. It shows that there are numerous squares as there are whole numbers, although most of these numbers are not perfect squares.
Galileo always insisted that physics should be should be taken as mathematical. In one of the books he wrote, mathematics was symbolized by telescopes, and an astrolabe. It is in this book that Galileo said that mathematics was the language of God. He went on to say that, it was only through mathematics that one can achieve a lasting truth in physics. Those who chose to neglect mathematics would be lost. Moreover, Galileo says that for the universe to be understood, one has to learn and comprehend the language of mathematics, and then interpret the characters in which it is written. The language of mathematics is written in characters including triangles, circles as well as other geometrical figures.
Galileo wrote a letter to the Grand Duchess Christina. It was a letter that tried to relate the revelations found in the bible to the new discoveries in science. He wrote that the sun was at the center of the universe and does not change in position. The earth rotates on itself as well as moving around it. In the end he said that the Copernican theory was not a mathematical tool but a reality in itself. He says that the point of conflict is not in religion itself but the beliefs that are associated with it.
Most of Galileo's critics at the time argued that the Copernican theory was in opposition to the bible, and hence advocated for it to be rejected. However, Galileo believed that science was not in conflict with religion, and indeed, could be taken as a positive rather than a negative factor in theology. He stated that scriptures in the bible were not to be translated directly. The church did accept the Copernican theory as a hypothesis but not a fact. The scripture described the earth as not moving and the sun as rising. Moreover, the church did not deem the evidence to be enough to contradict otherwise. However, Galileo went to Rome with new evidence to prove his point
Galileo's Aristotelian critic: There exists a spherical universe where the earth is at the center. This is proved by the observations made upon the moon in an eclipse. The shadow cast on the moon proved that the earth was indeed a sphere. The earth was stationery at the middle while the moon went round it. The earth does not move because there is an absence of a shift in the position of the stars. The stars arise and set in the same positions from the earth. In any case that the earth moves, then it should with two motions as described by Aristotle.
This shows that the cosmos in general was heliocentric and not geocentric. The Copernicus is not a substantive theory in that, it does not refer to the evidence shown by an eclipse. The heliocentric theory does not hold any water because the sun cannot be stationery, while the earth rotates around it. However, the earth is the one that is being stationery while the sun goes around it. Moreover, it is the sun that rises up in the morning from the east, goes down in the west and appears from the same position the next day.
Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina: Contrary to Galileo, I hold that the earth is stationery. This is because any local motion is either circular, in a straight line or a combination of the two. The earth is a natural object and the stars move across the sky but do not change positions in relation to one another. If in any case the earth moved, then we should see that the stars do change position in relation to each other. It is this observation that makes me believe that the earth does not move.
I reflect upon the letter I sent to the Grand Duchess Christina. I find that my view has no sufficient evidence and has a lot of assumptions. I believe that Galileo and Copernicans have enough evidence to support their theories; that the sun is at the center of the universe and the earth goes around it. The evidence that I put forward showing that the earth was round was not enough. I believe that Galileo added more evidence to show w that the earth was not spherical indeed. With all the evidence, I believe that scientists and astronomers should all follow and expound on Galileo's work.