Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de 'Galilei was born on February 15, 1564 in the province of Pisa in Italy. His father, a renowned musician, took care that his son received a good education. Extremely open to new ideas and concepts about the world, his parents Vincenzo Galilei and Giulia Ammannati avoided indoctrinating their son with religious teachings as much as they could in Italian society.

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As we know, back then schools were usually built extremely close to a church. When Galileo was eight years old his family moved to Florence, leaving him in the care of Jacopo Borghini for two years. Galileo was an extremely hardworking student at the Camaldolese Monastery at Vallombrosa, and his father was worried that he was thinking about a career in the religious field. Thanks to his father's exhortations Galileo enrolled to study medicine at the University of Pisa, a decision that finally collapsed in the face of his passion for mathematics and other sciences.

Galilei/photo: Jeffrey Beall,www.flickr.com,CC 2.0
Galilei/photo: Jeffrey Beall,www.flickr.com,CC 2.0

In 1589 he began working at the department of mathematics in Pisa. In 1591 his father died, leaving him dealing with the care of his younger brother Michelagnolo Galilei.

Major discoveries by this great genius occurred during his time as a teacher of geometry, mechanics and astronomy at the University of Padova. Among his outstanding achievements are improvements to the telescope,  important astronomical observations and his famous support for copernicanism.

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Galileo's copernicanism was to lead to many controversies; a large majority of philosophers and astronomers at the time agreed with the geocentric vision, which claims that Earth is the center of the Universe. After 1610 Galileo began to openly support Copernicus's theory of heliocentrism,  which said that the sun is the center of the Solar System.

Considered false and contrary to Scripture, the theory offended the Catholic Church which  warned him to abandon the idea.

Determined not to bow his head before anyone, Galileo again strongly supported the idea in the paper "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems", published in 1632. Judged by the Inquisition, Galileo was found guilty of heresy, forced to retract his statements and sentenced to spend the rest of his life under house arrest. Galileo became totally blind in 1638 and suffered from insomnia and hernia. This condition did allow him to travel to Florence for medical advice.

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Unfortunately, in 1642, a fever and palpitations killed him.

Regarding his personal life, it is known that he had three illegitimate children with Marina Gamba; two daughters - Virginia born in 1600 and Livia born in 1601 - and a son, Vincenzo, born in 1606.

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