Galileo's Mathematical-Experimental Method Essay

1857 Words8 Pages
Gabriel Glasser
Professor Damnjanovic
December 3, 2012
The Unveiling of the Heavens In summer of 1609, Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) pointed his revolutionary astronomical telescope to the heavens under the starry Venetian sky; his greatly important observations unveiled the mysteries of universe and would end up changing the course of scientific thought forever. Galileo lived in an age where there was much status quo, when scientists and philosophers would accept scientific and religious doctrine that had stood for hundreds, if not thousands, of years instead of challenging the accepted knowledge in favor of intellectual progress. Galileo’s scientific methods lead to significant discoveries explaining key scientific laws, such as the
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(Frova 41) Galileo’s confirmation of Copernican’s heliocentric theory explained through logical arguments and mathematical laws clearly the answers to these difficulties.
Galileo’s observational discoveries in astronomy allowed for the basis to begin discrediting the old ideas in favor of a new understanding of the universe. The longstanding way of thought in astronomy favored a spherically rotating universe around the Earth with unchanging and perfectly symmetrical constellations and planets. The contemporaries of Galileo believed, for example, that the moon had the face of a shiny, polished sphere, whereas Galileo showed that the surface of the moon to be imperfect with rough mountainous areas along with deep valleys (or “seas” as he called them) marked with dark sports (Frova 162). This surface very much paralleled the rough surface of the Earth (meaning that Earth’s surface was not unique). Also with his improved telescope, Galileo was capable of viewing the stars with much more clarity. Galileo discovered newly formed stars and star clusters, which challenged the Aristotelian philosophy of an ageless universe. Additionally, Galileo observed four of Jupiter’s largest moons orbiting around the planet (Frova 179). His observations of Jupiter’s satellites did not agree with the idea that all heavenly bodies must rotate around a central Earth. Finally, and arguably most important, Galileo showed Venus’s phases and
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