During the childhood and adolescence of Galileo Galilei, the ideas formed in ancient times almost completely dominated in science. Some of them, for example, the geometry of Euclid and Archimedes statics, have retained their importance in our days. Great experience and observations accumulated by astronomers, led to the emergence of progressive for its time, the Ptolemaic system (2nd c. BC.). However, many of the provisions of ancient science, eventually gained their status of unquestioned dogma, could not stand the test by time, and were rejected, when experience was recognized the main arbiter in science.
First of all, it refers to the mechanics of Aristotle and many others of his natural science concepts. It is these erroneous provisions that became the basis of the official “ideological credo,” and required not only the capacity for independent thought, but simple courage to speak out against it. Galileo Galilei was one of the first having enough courage to oppose it.
Galileo came from a noble, but impoverished family. His father, a musician and mathematician, wanted his son to become a doctor, and in 1581, after the end of the monastic schools, sent him to the medical faculty of the University of Pisa. However, medicine did not attract the young man of seventeen. After leaving university, he moved to Florence and immersed in an independent study of the works of Euclid and Archimedes. On the advice of a professor of philosophy Ricci and yielding to son’s requests, Galileo’s father sent him to the philosophy department, where philosophy and mathematics were more thoroughly studied.
In his childhood, Galileo was fond of designing mechanical toys, made working models of machines, mills and ships. As his pupil Viviani told later, Galileo in his youth has a remarkable talent for observation, which helped him make his first important discovery: watching swinging chandelier in the cathedral of Pisa, Galileo established the law of isochronous pendulum (independence of the oscillation period of the deviation). Some researchers have questioned the story Viviani about the circumstances of this discovery, but it is known that Galileo not only checked the law on experiments, but also used it for a certain period of time, which, in particular, was enthusiastically accepted by doctors.
The ability to observe and draw conclusions from what he saw always distinguished Galileo. As a young man, he realized that “… phenomena of nature, as insignificant, as unimportant as they appeared in all respects, should not to be despised by philosopher, but all must be equally honored. Nature’s greatness is made by small means, and all its manifestations are equally amazing.” In essence, this statement can be considered a declaration of Galileo experimental approach to the study of natural phenomena.
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