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Galileo Galilei

Born: 15th February 1564

Died: 8th January 1642

Nationality: Italian

Galileo Galilei was an Italian astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher, and mathematician who played a major role in the scientific revolution during the Renaissance. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Heliocentrism. Galileo has been called the "father of modern observational astronomy", the "father of modern physics", and the "father of modern science". According to Stephen Hawking, Galileo probably bears more of the responsibility for the birth of modern science than anybody else, and Albert Einstein called him the father of modern science.

His contributions to observational astronomy include the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter, and the observation and analysis of sunspots. Galileo also worked in applied science and technology, inventing an improved military compass and other instruments.

Galileo was born in Pisa, Italy, in 1564, the first of six children of Vincenzo Galilei, a famous lutenist, composer, and music theorist, and Giulia Ammannati. Galileo became an accomplished lutenist himself aswell. When Galileo Galilei was eight, his family moved to Florence.

Galileo's championing of Heliocentrism and Copernicanism were controversial within his lifetime, when most subscribed to either Geocentrism or the Tychonic system. The matter was investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, and they concluded that it could only be supported as a possibility, not as an established fact. He was tried by the Inquisition, found "vehemently suspect of heresy" by Pope Urban VIII, forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. There he wrote one of his finest works, Two New Sciences.

Galileo died on 8th January 1642, aged 77, after suffering fever and heart palpitations.

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