Two Views of the Universe Galileo Galilei
Besides showing that the Sun did not revolve around the Earth, as the Bible suggests, and his many inventions, Galileos most famous contribution to science was in greatly improving the telescope. Galileo courageously led the way in the battle of science over superstition at a time when superstition was accepted as science.
Educated as a mathematician, Galileo had wished to pursue a life within the Church but his parents insisted he attend the University to study medicine. While at the Universities of Padua and Pisa, mathematics became his passion and would go on to teach the subject before leaving to study privately. Until the time of Galileo, Nicholas Copernicus (1473 .– 1543) and Johannes Kepler (1571 .– 1630) among others physics theories discovered by Aristotle (384–322 BC) were still considered fundamentally correct. While still a professor, Galileo challenged these theories, one of which led to the dual ball dropping from a leaning tower located in his hometown. According to Aristotle, heavier objects fall at a greater rate than lighter objects. Galileo disproved this theory. "The reason for one object falling faster than the other had to do with the friction each encounters while moving through the air- two objects of different weight actually fall at the same rate in a vacuum." ("Galileo Drops," 2014)
Perhaps even more famous than the leaning tower story is Galileos argument against Aristotle’s theory that the Sun revolved around the Earth, that it was a geocentric universe. The prevailing theory fit well into the Church’s teachings but it had no intention of allowing a new theory, one that made sense and was presented by a credible, respected and well-known scholar, to become public knowledge. Galileo confirmed Copernicus heliocentric theory that the Earth and other planets do what they actually do, revolve around the Sun. .