Galileo Place of Birth and Brief Overview Essay

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  • Subject: Education - Mathematics
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #75205642

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Place of Birth and Brief overview of family life and upbringing

Galileo Galilei's father was Vincenzo Galilei while his mother was called Guilia Ammannati. Vincenzo was born in 1520 in Florence. He was a teacher of music and fine art enthusiast. He was a refined flute player (O'Connor & Robertson, 2002). While he was studying music in Venice, Vincenzo carried out a string of experiments to support his musical theories. Galileo's mother Guilia was a native of Pescia. She married Vincenzo in 1563 and moved to the countryside near Pisa. Galileo was the first born in this family. He spent early part of his life in Pisa. When Galileo was hardly nine years old, his family returned to Florence which was his father's hometown (O'Connor & Robertson, 2002). Galileo on the contrary decided to remain in Pisa for two years. At Pisa, he stayed with Muzio Tedaldi who was his mother's relation. Upon reaching the age of ten, he decided to join his family at Florence. At Florence he was tutored by Jacopo Borghini.


Once Galileo was old enough, he was sent to Camaldolese Monastery at Vallomborosa by his parents. The monastery was 33 km southeast of Florence. The Camaldolese Order was independent of the Benedictine Order following a split that took place in 1012. The order combined the solitary life of the hermit with the strict life of a monk (O'Connor & Robertson, 2002). Young Galileo found this life very attractive. He soon became a novice with an intention of joining this order. However, this did not please his father who had decided that his eldest son had to become a medical doctor. Galileo had to return to Florence from Vallombrossa. His intentions of joining the Camaldolese religious order essentially went up in flames. Back in Florence, he continued his schooling in school run by the Camaldolese monks. In 1581, he was sent back to Pisa to Muzio Tedaldi by his father. He enrolled for a medical degree at the University of Pisa (O'Connor & Robertson, 2002). Despite the fact that the medical career never appealed to him, he considered his father's wish a fairly natural one since there was a distinguished physician in his family in the 13th Century. He seems not to have taken his medical studies seriously. He only attended courses on his real interest which was mathematics and natural philosophy. His mathematics teacher at the University, Filippo Fantoni, doubled up as the chair of mathematics. When he returned to Florence for the summer vacations he continued to study mathematics. The mathematician of the Tucson Court and a former pupil of Tartaglia, Ostilio Ricci, happened to have taught Euclid's Elements at Pisa which Galileo attended. This was in the year 1582-83. His father Vincenzo encouraged him whenever he came back to Florence on vacation to read Galen to further his medical studies (O'Connor & Robertson, 2002). Galileo who was reluctant to study medicine kept inviting Ricci to his home to meet his father. Ricci tried to prevail on Vincenzo to allow Galileo study mathematics since that was where his interest was something that Vincenzo resisted strongly. He, however, eventually gave in a little and allowed Galileo to study the works of Euclid's and Archimedes from Italian translations that Tartaglia had made (O'Connor & Robertson, 2002). Galileo eventually left Pisa in 1585 without completing his medical degree. He taught mathematics privately in Florence and then during 1585-86, he was given a public appointment at Sienna. During the summer of 1586 he taught at Vallombrossa where he wrote his first scientific book The Little Balance. This book described Archimedes methods of finding specific gravities of substances using a balance. In 1587, he travelled to Rome to meet the Professor of Mathematics at the Jesuit Collegio Romano to share with him the results which he had discovered on centers of gravities which was a very popular topic with Jesuit mathematicians of that time (O'Connor & Robertson, 2002). Clavius did not, however, grant him a position at the University of Bologna even after he, Galileo, had made favorable impression on him. They kept correspondence though. In 1588, Galileo received a prestigious invitation to lecture on dimensions and location of hell in Dante's Inferno at the Academy in Florence. When Fantoni left the position of chair of mathematics at the University of Pisa, Galileo was eventually appointed to fill the post. Clavius wrote him one of the strongest recommendations (O'Connor &…

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