How much do you know about the "real" Galileo Galilei?

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   Aristotle      average      decade      disapproved      earth      eight      heliocentric      heresy      Italy      Jupiter      mathematics      medicine      money      moon      orbit      Pisa      Ptolemy      renounce      sun   
Galileo Galilei was born in , Italy, on February 18, 1564, to a family of aristocratic lineage but wealth. When he was seventeen, his father, a noted musician who also earned money in the wool trade, sent him to study at the University of Pisa. Galileo, however, soon turned to a career in .

A lack of forced him to leave school in 1585, and for four years he supported himself by tutoring students in mathematics. In 1589 he obtained a position lecturing at the University of Pisa, where he remained for three years, making discoveries that challenged the then-dominant view of physics, which was based on the ancient writings of the Greek philosopher . Most famously, he discovered that two objects, dropped from the same height, fall at the same rate regardless of their weight. In 1592, he moved on to the University of Padua, where he would remain for more than fifteen years. There, he met Marina Gambi, who became his mistress and bore him three children. He also did groundbreaking research in physics, discovering the law of inertia and paving the way for the work of Sir Isaac Newton in the 17th century.

Meanwhile, in the world of astronomy, a great debate was raging between the ancient system of , which placed the in the center of the universe, and system of Copernicus, which posited the at the center, and the earth in an around it. In 1609, after word came from Holland of the invention of the telescope, Galileo built his own version of the instrument. With this new tool, he observed the mountains and craters on earth's , and discovered four moons orbiting . In 1610 he published Sidereus Nuncius, cataloguing his discoveries, and the book made him a celebrity in Europe.

Using new evidence provided by his telescope, Galileo now began to advocate strongly the Copernican theory. The Catholic Church, however, of heliocentricity, feeling that it was contrary to the statements in the Bible: if God created human beings as His supreme creation, He would place man at the center of His cosmos. In 1616 the Church sent Galileo formal warning that they considered his theory a denial of Christian doctrine. Thus he refrained from publishing anything about his theories for the next , but the ascension of a liberal Pope, Urban VIII, encouraged him to publish the Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems in 1632, which openly argued for the Copernican system. The Church now accused Galileo of , tried him before the Inquisition, and forced him to his views and submit to the Church.

Galileo lived under house arrest for the last years of his life. Yet he still continued to write: in 1638, he published his last work, a compilation of all his research into physics; it was published in Germany, because the Inquisition had forbidden the printing of any of his work in . Galileo went blind in 1638 and died on January 8, 1642, at the age of seventy-seven.