The GALILEO Syndrome (The Galileo Series Book 1)

Galileo the Heaven Gazer
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puede una mujer soltera adoptar un bebe en mexico But natural phenomena were not then valued on their own account, and for the proofs which they afford of a vast and beneficent design in the structure of the universe, so much as for the fertile topics which the favourite mode of viewing the subject supplied to the spirit of scholastic disputation: and it is a humiliating reflection that mankind never reasoned so ill as when they most professed to cultivate the art of reasoning.

However specious the objects, and alluring the announcements of this art, the then prevailing manner of studying it curbed and corrupted all that is free and noble in the human mind. Innumerable fallacies lurked every where among the most generally received opinions, and crowds of dogmatic and self-sufficient pedants fully justified the lively definition, that "logic is the art of talking unintelligibly on things of which we are ignorant. The error which lay at the root of the philosophy of the middle ages was this:—from the belief that general laws and universal principles might be discovered, of which the natural phenomena were effects , it was thought that the proper order of study was, first to detect the general cause , and then to pursue it into its consequences; it was considered absurd to begin with the effect instead of the cause; whereas the real choice lay between proceeding from particular facts 2 to general facts, or from general facts to particular facts; and it was under this misrepresentation of the real question that all the sophistry lurked.

As soon as it is well understood that the general cause is no other than a single fact, common to a great number of phenomena, it is necessarily perceived that an accurate scrutiny of these latter must precede any safe reasoning with respect to the former. But at the time of which we are speaking, those who adopted this order of reasoning, and who began their inquiries by a minute and sedulous investigation of facts, were treated with disdain, as men who degraded the lofty name of philosophy by bestowing it upon mere mechanical operations.

Among the earliest and noblest of these was Galileo. It is common, especially in this country, to name Bacon as the founder of the present school of experimental philosophy; we speak of the Baconian or inductive method of reasoning as synonimous and convertible terms, and we are apt to overlook what Galileo had already done before Bacon's writings appeared. Certainly the Italian did not range over the circle of the sciences with the supreme and searching glance of the English philosopher, but we find in every part of his writings philosophical maxims which do not lose by comparison with those of Bacon; and Galileo deserves the additional praise, that he himself gave to the world a splendid practical illustration of the value of the principles which he constantly recommended.

In support of this view of the comparative deserts of these two celebrated men, we are able to adduce the authority of Hume, who will be readily admitted as a competent judge of philosophical merit, where his prejudices cannot bias his decision. Discussing the character of Bacon, he says, "If we consider the variety of talents displayed by this man, as a public speaker, a man of business, a wit, a courtier, a companion, an author, a philosopher, he is justly the object of great admiration.

If we consider him merely as an author and philosopher, the light in which we view him at present, though very estimable, he was yet inferior to his contemporary Galileo, perhaps even to Kepler.

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At other times, only a semicircle or even less of the surface was visible. It's still lying in its teeth and defending the indefensible. Cover Reveal! In this experiment, you will build a water clock that measures time. It's one of the most disputed chapters in the history of science, and critics of religion say it's an historical smoking gun which indicts the church as an organisation that assualts those who dare to think new ideas.

Bacon pointed out at a distance the road to true philosophy: Galileo both pointed it out to others, and made himself considerable advances in it. The Englishman was ignorant of geometry: the Florentine revived that science, excelled in it, and was the first that applied it, together with experiment, to natural philosophy. The former rejected with the most positive disdain the system of Copernicus: the latter fortified it with new proofs derived both from reason and the senses.

If we compare them from another point of view, not so much in respect of their intrinsic merit, as of the influence which each exercised on the philosophy of his age, Galileo's superior talent or better fortune, in arresting the attention of his contemporaries, seems indisputable.

The fate of the two writers is directly opposed the one to the other; Bacon's works seem to be most studied and appreciated when his readers have come to their perusal, imbued with knowledge and a philosophical spirit, which, however, they have attained independently of his assistance. The proud appeal to posterity which he uttered in his will, "For my name and memory, I leave it to men's charitable speeches, and to foreign nations, and the next ages," of itself indicates a consciousness of the fact that his contemporary countrymen were but slightly affected by his philosophical precepts.

But Galileo's personal exertions changed the general character of philosophy in Italy: at the time of his death, his immediate pupils had obtained possession of the most celebrated universities, and were busily engaged in practising and enforcing the lessons which he had taught them; nor was it then easy to find there a single student of natural philosophy who did not readily ascribe the formation of his principles to the direct or remote influence of Galileo's example.

Unlike Bacon's, his reputation, and the value of his writings, were higher among his contemporaries than they have since become. This judgment perhaps awards the highest intellectual prize to him whose disregarded services rise in estimation with the advance of knowledge; but the praise due to superior usefulness belongs to him who succeeded in training round him a school of imitators, and thereby enabled his imitators to surpass himself.

The biography of men who have devoted themselves to philosophical pursuits seldom affords so various and striking a succession of incidents as that 3 of a soldier or statesman.

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The life of a man who is shut up during the greater part of his time in his study or laboratory supplies but scanty materials for personal details; and the lapse of time rapidly removes from us the opportunities of preserving such peculiarities as might have been worth recording. An account of it will therefore consist chiefly in a review of his works and opinions, and of the influence which he and they have exercised over his own and succeeding ages. Viewed in this light, few lives can be considered more interesting than that of Galileo; and if we compare the state in which he found, with that in which he left, the study of nature, we shall feel how justly an enthusiastic panegyric pronounced upon the age immediately following him may be transferred to this earlier period.

This is the age wherein, methinks, philosophy comes in with a spring tide, and the peripatetics may as well hope to stop the current of the tide, or, with Xerxes, to fetter the ocean, as hinder the overflowing of free philosophy. Methinks I see how all the old rubbish must be thrown away, and the rotten buildings be overthrown and carried away, with so powerful an inundation.

These are the days that must lay a new foundation of a more magnificent philosophy, never to be overthrown, that will empirically and sensibly canvass the phenomena of nature, deducing the causes of things from such originals in nature as we observe are producible by art, and the infallible demonstration of mechanics: and certainly this is the way, and no other, to build a true and permanent philosophy.

Galileo Galilei was born at Pisa, on the 15th day of February, , of a noble and ancient Florentine family, which, in the middle of the fourteenth century, adopted this surname instead of Bonajuti, under which several of their ancestors filled distinguished offices in the Florentine state.

Some misapprehension has occasionally existed, in consequence of the identity of his proper name with that of his family; his most correct appellation would perhaps be Galileo de' Galilei, but the surname usually occurs as we have written it. Several authors have followed Rossi in styling Galileo illegitimate, but without having any probable grounds even when they wrote, and the assertion has since been completely disproved by an inspection of the registers at Pisa and Florence, in which are preserved the dates of his birth, and of his mother's marriage, eighteen months previous to it.

His father, Vincenzo Galilei, was a man of considerable talent and learning, with a competent knowledge of mathematics, and particularly devoted to the theory and practice of music, on which he published several esteemed treatises. The only one which it is at present easy to procure—his Dialogue on ancient and modern music—exhibits proofs, not only of a thorough acquaintance with his subject, but of a sound and vigorous understanding applied to other topics incidentally discussed.

There is a passage in the introductory part, which becomes interesting when considered as affording some traces of the precepts by which Galileo was in all probability trained to reach his preeminent station in the intellectual world. Vincenzo died at an advanced age, in His family consisted of three sons, Galileo, Michel Angelo, and Benedetto, and the same number of daughters, Giulia, Virginia, and Livia. After Vincenzo's death the chief support of the family devolved upon Galileo, who seems to have assisted them to his utmost power.

In a letter to his mother, dated , relative to the intended marriage of his sister Livia with a certain Pompeo Baldi, he agrees to the match, but recommends its temporary postponement, as he was at that time exerting himself to furnish money to his brother Michel Angelo, who had received the offer of an advantageous settlement in Poland. As the sum advanced to his brother, which prevented him from promoting his sister's marriage, did not exceed crowns, it may be inferred that the family were in a somewhat straitened condition.

However he promises, as soon as his brother should repay him, "to take measures for the young lady, since she too is bent upon coming out to prove the miseries of this world. This proposed marriage never took place, but Livia was afterwards married to Taddeo Galletti: her sister Virginia married Benedetto Landucci. Galileo mentions one of his sisters, without naming her as living with him in at Bellosguardo. Michel Angelo is probably the same brother of Galileo who is mentioned by Liceti as having communicated from Germany some observations on natural history.

On the taking of that city in , in the course of the bloody thirty years' war, which was then raging between the Austrians and Swedes, his widow and four of his children were killed, and every thing which they possessed was either burnt or carried away. Galileo sent for his two nephews, Alberto and a younger brother, to Arcetri near Florence, where he was then living. These two were then the only survivors of Michel Angelo's family; and many of Galileo's letters about that date contain allusions to the assistance he had been affording them.

The last trace of Alberto is on his return into Germany to the Elector, in whose service his father had died. These details include almost every thing which is known of the rest of Vincenzo's family. Galileo exhibited early symptoms of an active and intelligent mind, and distinguished himself in his childhood by his skill in the construction of ingenious toys and models of machinery, supplying the deficiencies of his information from the resources of his own invention; and he conciliated the universal good-will of his companions by the ready good nature with which he employed himself in their service and for their amusement.

It is worthy of observation, that the boyhood of his great follower Newton, whose genius in many respects so closely resembled his own, was marked by a similar talent. Galileo's father was not opulent, as has been already stated: he was burdened with a large family, and was unable to provide expensive instructors for his son; but Galileo's own energetic industry rapidly supplied the want of better opportunities; and he acquired, under considerable disadvantages, the ordinary rudiments of a classical education, and a competent knowledge of the other branches of literature which were then usually studied.

Galileo and the Leaning Tower of Pisa

His leisure hours were applied to music and drawing; for the former accomplishment he inherited his father's talent, being an excellent performer on several instruments, especially on the lute; this continued to be a favourite recreation during the whole of his life. He was also passionately fond of painting, and at one time he wished to make it his profession: and his skill and judgment of pictures were highly esteemed by the most eminent contemporary artists, who did not scruple to own publicly their deference to young Galileo's criticism.

When he had reached his nineteenth year, his father, becoming daily more sensible of his superior genius, determined, although at a great personal sacrifice, to give him the advantages of an university education. Accordingly, in , he commenced his academical studies in the university of his native town, Pisa, his father at this time intending that 5 he should adopt the profession of medicine. It is dated 5th November, Viviani, his pupil, friend, and panegyrist, declares that, almost from the first day of his being enrolled on the lists of the academy, he was noticed for the reluctance with which he listened to the dogmas of the Aristotelian philosophy, then universally taught; and he soon became obnoxious to the professors from the boldness with which he promulgated what they styled his philosophical paradoxes.

His early habits of free inquiry were irreconcileable with the mental quietude of his instructors, whose philosophic doubts, when they ventured to entertain any, were speedily lulled by a quotation from Aristotle. Galileo thought himself capable of giving the world an example of a sounder and more original mode of thinking; he felt himself destined to be the founder of a new school of rational and experimental philosophy.

Of this we are now securely enjoying the benefits; and it is difficult at this time fully to appreciate the obstacles which then presented themselves to free inquiry: but we shall see, in the course of this narrative, how arduous their struggle was who happily effected this important revolution. The vindictive rancour with which the partisans of the old philosophy never ceased to assail Galileo is of itself a sufficient proof of the prominent station which he occupied in the contest.

Galileo's earliest mechanical discovery, to the superficial observer apparently an unimportant one, occurred during the period of his studies at Pisa. His attention was one day arrested by the vibrations of a lamp swinging from the roof of the cathedral, which, whether great or small, seemed to recur at equal intervals. The instruments then employed for measuring time were very imperfect: Galileo attempted to bring his observation to the test before quitting the church, by comparing the vibrations with the beatings of his own pulse, and his mind being then principally employed upon his intended profession, it occurred to him, when he had further satisfied himself of their regularity by repeated and varied experiments, that the process he at first adopted might be reversed, and that an instrument on this principle might be usefully employed in ascertaining the rate of the pulse, and its variation from day to day.

He immediately carried the idea into execution, and it was for this sole and limited purpose that the first pendulum was constructed. Viviani tells us, that the value of the invention was rapidly appreciated by the physicians of the day, and was in common use in , when he wrote. Santorio, who was professor of medicine at Padua, has given representations of four different forms of these instruments, which he calls pulsilogies, pulsilogias , and strongly recommends to medical practitioners.

The string being gathered up into the hand till the vibrations of the weight coincided with the beatings of the patient's pulse, the length was ascertained from the scale, which, of course, if great, indicated a languid, if shorter, a more lively action. In No. The construction of No. Venturi seems to have mistaken the third figure for that of a pendulum clock, as he mentions this as one of the earliest adaptations of Galileo's principle to that purpose; [7] but it is obvious, from Santorio's description, that it is nothing more than a circular scale, the index showing, by the figure to which it points, the length of string remaining unwound upon the axis.

We shall, for the present, postpone the consideration of the invention of pendulum clocks, and the examination of the different claims to the honour of their first construction. At the time of which we are speaking, Galileo was entirely ignorant of mathematics, the study of which was then at a low ebb, not only in Italy, but in every part of Europe. Commandine had recently revived a taste for the writings of Euclid and Archimedes, and Vieta Tartalea and others had made considerable progress in algebra, Guido Ubaldi and Benedetti had done something towards establishing the principles of statics, which was the only part of mechanics as yet cultivated; but with these inconsiderable exceptions the application of mathematics to the phenomena of nature was scarcely thought of.

Galileo's first inducement to acquire a knowledge of geometry arose from his partiality for drawing and music, and from the wish to understand their principles and theory.

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His father, fearful lest he should relax his medical studies, refused openly to encourage him in this new pursuit; but he connived at the instruction which his son now began to receive in the writings of Euclid, from the tuition of an intimate friend, named Ostilio Ricci, who was one of the professors in the university. Galileo's whole attention was soon directed to the enjoyment of the new sensations thus communicated to him, insomuch that Vincenzo, finding his prognostics verified, began to repent his indirect sanction, and privately requested Ricci to invent some excuse for discontinuing his lessons.

But it was fortunately too late; the impression was made and could not be effaced; from that time Hippocrates and Galen lay unheeded before the young physician, and served only to conceal from his father's sight the mathematical volumes on which the whole of his time was really employed.

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His progress soon revealed the true nature of his pursuits: Vincenzo yielded to the irresistible predilection of his son's mind, and no longer attempted to turn him from the speculations to which his whole existence was thenceforward abandoned. After mastering the elementary writers, Galileo proceeded to the study of Archimedes, and, whilst perusing the Hydrostatics of that author, composed his earliest work,—an Essay on the Hydrostatical Balance. In this he explains the method probably adopted by Archimedes for the solution of Hiero's celebrated question, [8] and shows himself already well acquainted with the true principles of specific gravities.

This essay had an immediate and important influence on young Galileo's fortunes, for it introduced him to the approving notice of Guido Ubaldi, then one of the most distinguished mathematicians of Italy. At his suggestion Galileo applied himself to consider the position of the centre of gravity in solid bodies, a choice of subject that sufficiently showed the estimate Ubaldi had formed of his talents; for it was a question on which Commandine had recently written, and which engaged at that time the attention of geometricians of the highest order. Galileo tells us himself that he discontinued these researches on meeting with Lucas Valerio's treatise on the same subject.

Ubaldi was so much struck with the genius displayed in the essay with which Galileo furnished him, that he introduced him to his brother, the Cardinal Del Monte: by this latter he was mentioned to Ferdinand de' Medici, the reigning Duke of Tuscany, as a young man of whom the highest expectations might be entertained. By the Duke's patronage he was nominated, in , to the lectureship of mathematics at Pisa, being then in his twenty-sixth year. His public salary was fixed at the insignificant sum of sixty crowns annually, but he had an opportunity of greatly adding to his income by private tuition.

Nelli, Vita di Gal. Patavii, Venetiis, Paris, No sooner was Galileo settled in his new office than he renewed his inquiries into the phenomena of nature with increased diligence. He instituted a course 7 of experiments for the purpose of putting to the test the mechanical doctrines of Aristotle, most of which he found unsupported even by the pretence of experience.

It is to be regretted that we do not more frequently find detailed his method of experimenting, than occasionally in the course of his dialogues, and it is chiefly upon the references which he makes to the results with which the experiments furnished him, and upon the avowed and notorious character of his philosophy, that the truth of these accounts must be made to depend. Venturi has found several unpublished papers by Galileo on the subject of motion, in the Grand Duke's private library at Florence, bearing the date of , in which are many of the theorems which he afterwards developed in his Dialogues on Motion.

These were not published till fifty years afterwards, and we shall reserve an account of their contents till we reach that period of his life. Galileo was by no means the first who had ventured to call in question the authority of Aristotle in matters of science, although he was undoubtedly the first whose opinions and writings produced a very marked and general effect.

Nizzoli, a celebrated scholar who lived in the early part of the 16th century, had condemned Aristotle's philosophy, especially his Physics, in very unequivocal and forcible terms, declaring that, although there were many excellent truths in his writings, the number was scarcely less of false, useless, and ridiculous propositions.

It is not impossible though there are probably no means of directly ascertaining the fact that Galileo may have been acquainted with Leonardo's investigations, although they remained, till very lately, almost unknown to the mathematical world. This supposition is rendered more probable from the fact, that Mazenta, the preserver of Leonardo's manuscripts, was, at the very time of their discovery, a contemporary student with Galileo at Pisa.

Kopernik, or, as he is usually called, Copernicus, a native of Thorn in Prussia, had published his great work, De Revolutionibus, in , restoring the knowledge of the true theory of the solar system, and his opinions were gradually and silently gaining ground.

It is not satisfactorily ascertained at what period Galileo embraced the new astronomical theory. Voss himself gives no authority, and his general inaccuracy makes his mere word not of much weight. The assertion appears, on many accounts, destitute of much probability. Of as many as I examined I found not so much as one who told me not that he had been a long time of the contrary opinion, but to have changed it for this, as convinced by the strength of the reasons proving the same; and afterwards questioning them one by one, to see whether they were well possessed of the reasons of the other side, I found them all to be very ready and perfect in them, so that I could not truly say that they took this opinion out of ignorance, vanity, or to show the acuteness of their wits.

On the contrary, of as many of the Peripatetics and Ptolemeans as I have asked, and out of curiosity I have talked with many, what pains they had taken in the book of Copernicus, I found very few that had so much as superficially perused it, but of those who I thought had understood the same, not one: and, moreover, I have inquired amongst the followers of the Peripatetic doctrine, if ever any of them had held the contrary opinion, and likewise found none that had.

Whereupon, considering that there was no man who followed the opinion of Copernicus that had not been first on the contrary side, and that was not very well acquainted with the reasons of Aristotle and Ptolemy, and, on the contrary, that there was not one of the followers of Ptolemy that had ever been of the judgment of Copernicus, and had left that to embrace this of Aristotle;—considering, I say, these things, I began to think that one who leaveth an opinion imbued with his milk and followed by very many, to take up another, owned by very few, and denied by all the schools, and that really seems a great paradox, must needs have been moved, not to say forced, by more powerful reasons.

For this cause I am become very curious to dive, as they say, into the bottom of this business. The circumstance mentioned of the intermission of his philosophical studies, though in itself trivial, agrees very well with Galileo's original medical destination. In Voss informs us that he published some new questions on Purbach's Theory of the Planets. It is not unlikely that Galileo also, in part, owed his emancipation from popular prejudices to the writings of Giordano Bruno, an unfortunate man, whose unsparing boldness in exposing fallacies and absurdities was rewarded by a judicial murder, and by the character of heretic and infidel, with which his executioners endeavoured to stigmatize him for the purpose of covering over their own atrocious crime.

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Bruno was burnt at Rome in , but not, as Montucla supposes, on account of his "Spaccio della Bestia trionfante. Bruno attacked the fashionable philosophy alternately with reason and ridicule, and numerous passages in his writings, tedious and obscure as they generally are, show that he had completely outstripped the age in which he lived. Among his astronomical opinions, he believed that the universe consisted of innumerable systems of suns with assemblages of planets revolving round each of them, like our own earth, the smallness of which, alone, prevented their being observed by us.

He remarked further, "that it is by no means improbable that there are yet other planets revolving round our own sun, which we have not yet noticed, either on account of their minute size or too remote distance from us. We have already seen that he engaged in a series of experiments to investigate the truth of some of Aristotle's positions. As fast as he succeeded in demonstrating the falsehood of any of them, he denounced them from his professorial chair with an energy and success which irritated more and more against him the other members of the academic body.

There seems something in the stubborn opposition which he encountered in establishing the truth of his mechanical theorems, still more stupidly absurd than in the ill will to which, at a later period of his life, his astronomical opinions exposed him: it is intelligible that the vulgar should withhold their assent from one who pretended to discoveries in the remote heavens, which few possessed instruments to verify, or talents to appreciate; but it is difficult to find terms for stigmatizing the obdurate folly of those who preferred the evidence of their books to that of their senses, in judging of phenomena so obvious as those, for instance, presented by the fall of bodies to the ground.

Aristotle had asserted, that if two different weights of the same material were let fall from the same height, the heavier one would reach the ground sooner than the other, in the proportion of their weights. The experiment is certainly not a very difficult one, but nobody thought of that method of argument, and consequently this assertion had been long received, upon his word, among the axioms of the science of motion. Galileo ventured to appeal from the authority of Aristotle to that of his own senses, and maintained that, with the exception of an inconsiderable difference, which he attributed to the disproportionate resistance of the air, they would fall in the same time.

The Aristotelians ridiculed and refused to listen to such an idea. Galileo repeated his experiments in their presence from the famous leaning tower at Pisa: and with the sound of the simultaneously falling weights still ringing in their ears, they could persist in gravely maintaining that a weight of ten pounds would reach the ground in a tenth part of the time taken by one of a single pound, because they were able to quote chapter and verse in which Aristotle assures them that such is the fact. A temper of mind like this could not fail to produce ill will towards him who felt no scruples in exposing their wilful folly; and the watchful malice of these men soon found the means of making Galileo desirous of quitting 10 his situation at Pisa.

Don Giovanni de' Medici, a natural son of Cosmo, who possessed a slight knowledge of mechanics on which he prided himself, had proposed a contrivance for cleansing the port of Leghorn, on the efficiency of which Galileo was consulted. His opinion was unfavourable, and the violence of the inventor's disappointment, for Galileo's judgment was verified by the result, took the somewhat unreasonable direction of hatred towards the man whose penetration had foreseen the failure.

Galileo's situation was rendered so unpleasant by the machinations of this person, that he decided on accepting overtures elsewhere, which had already been made to him; accordingly, under the negotiation of his staunch friend Guido Ubaldi, and with the consent of Ferdinand, he procured from the republic of Venice a nomination for six years to the professorship of mathematics in the university of Padua, whither he removed in September Galileo's predecessor in the mathematical chair at Padua was Moleti, who died in , and the situation had remained unfilled during the intervening four years.

This seems to show that the directors attributed but little importance to the knowledge which it was the professor's duty to impart. This inference is strengthened by the fact, that the amount of the annual salary attached to it did not exceed florins, whilst the professors of philosophy and civil law, in the same university, were rated at the annual stipends of and florins. It does not appear that after this decree they were again troublesome to the university, but this first decree against them was followed, in , by a second more peremptory, which banished them entirely from the Venetian territory.

Galileo would of course find his fellow-professors much embittered against that society, and would naturally feel inclined to make common cause with them, so that it is not unlikely that the hatred which the Jesuits afterwards bore to Galileo on personal considerations, might be enforced by their recollection of the university to which he had belonged. Galileo's writings now began to follow each other with great rapidity, but he was at this time apparently so careless of his reputation, that many of his works and inventions, after a long circulation in manuscript among his pupils and friends, found their way into the hands of those who were not ashamed to publish them as their own, and to denounce Galileo's claim to the authorship as the pretence of an impudent plagiarist.

He was, however, so much beloved and esteemed by his friends, that they vied with each other in resenting affronts of this nature offered to him, and in more than one instance he was relieved, by their full and triumphant answers, from the trouble of vindicating his own character. To this epoch of Galileo's life may be referred his re-invention of the thermometer. The original idea of this useful instrument belongs to the Greek mathematician Hero; and Santorio himself, who has been named as the inventor by Italian writers, and at one time claimed it himself, refers it to him.

In , Castelli wrote to Cesarini that "he remembered an experiment shown to him more than thirty-five years back by Galileo, who took a small glass bottle, about the size of a hen's egg, the neck of which was twenty-two inches long, and as narrow as a straw. Having well heated the bulb in his hands, and then introducing its mouth into a vessel in which was a little water, and withdrawing the heat of his hand from the bulb, the water rose in the neck of the bottle more than eleven inches above the level in the vessel, and Galileo employed this principle in the construction of an instrument for measuring heat and cold.

Galileo's thermometer, as we have just seen, consisted merely of a glass tube ending in a bulb, the air in which, being partly expelled by heat, was replaced by water from a glass into which the open end of the tube was plunged, and the different degrees of temperature were indicated by the expansion of the air which yet remained in the bulb, so that the scale would be the reverse of that of the thermometer now in use, for the water would stand at the highest level in the coldest weather.

It was, in truth, a barometer also, in consequence of the communication between the tube and external air, although Galileo did not intend it for this purpose, and when he attempted to determine the relative weight of the air, employed a contrivance still more imperfect than this rude barometer would have been. A passage among his posthumous fragments intimates that he subsequently used spirit of wine instead of water. Viviani attributes an improvement of this imperfect instrument, but without specifying its nature, to Ferdinand II.

It was still further improved by Ferdinand's younger brother, Leopold de' Medici, who invented the modern process of expelling all the air from the tube by boiling the spirit of wine in it, and of hermetically sealing the end of the tube, whilst the contained liquid is in this expanded state, which deprived it of its barometrical character, and first made it an accurate thermometer. The final improvement was the employment of mercury instead of spirit of wine, which is recommended by Lana so early as , on account of its equable expansion. Francofurti, La Cena de le Cenere, Memorie e Lettere di Gal.

Modena, Brescia, This period of Galileo's lectureship at Padua derives interest from its including the first notice which we find of his having embraced the doctrines of the Copernican astronomy. Most of our readers are aware of the principles of the theory of the celestial motions which Copernicus restored; but the number of those who possess much knowledge of the cumbrous and unwieldy system which it superseded is perhaps more limited.

The present is not a fit opportunity to enter into many details respecting it; these will find their proper place in the History of Astronomy: but a brief sketch of its leading principles is necessary to render what follows intelligible. The earth was supposed to be immoveably fixed in the centre of the universe, and immediately surrounding it the atmospheres of air and fire, beyond which the sun, moon, and planets, were thought to be carried round the earth, fixed each to a separate orb or heaven of solid but transparent matter. The order of distance in which they were supposed to be placed with regard to the central earth was as follows: The Moon, Mercury, Venus, The Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

It became a question in the ages immediately preceding Copernicus, whether the Sun was not nearer the Earth than Mercury, or at least than Venus; and this question was one on which the astronomical theorists were then chiefly divided. We possess at this time a curious record of a former belief in this arrangement of the Sun and planets, in the order in which the days of the week have been named from them.

According to the dreams of Astrology, each planet was supposed to exert its influence in succession, reckoning from the most distant down to the nearest, over each hour of the twenty-four. The planet which was supposed to predominate over the first hour, gave its name to that day. Placing the Sun and planets in the following order, and beginning, for instance, with Monday, or the Moon's day; Saturn ruled the second hour of that day, Jupiter the third, and so round till we come again and again to the Moon on the 8th, 15th, and 22d hours; Saturn ruled the 23d, 12 Jupiter the 24th, so that the next day would be the day of Mars, or, as the Saxons translated it, Tuisco's day, or Tuesday.

In this manner the whole week will be found to complete the cycle of the seven planets. The other stars were supposed to be fixed in an outer orb, beyond which were two crystalline spheres, as they were called, and on the outside of all, the primum mobile or first moveable , which sphere was supposed to revolve round the earth in twenty-four hours, and by its friction, or rather, as most of the philosophers of that day chose to term it, by the sort of heavenly influence which it exercised on the interior orbs, to carry them round with a similar motion.

Hence the diversity of day and night. But beside this principal and general motion, each orb was supposed to have one of its own, which was intended to account for the apparent changes of position of the planets with respect to the fixed stars and to each other.

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This supposition, however, proving insufficient to account for all the irregularities of motion observed, two hypotheses were introduced. They thus acquired the names of Eccentrics or Epicycles, the latter word signifying a circle upon a circle. The whole art of astronomers was then directed towards inventing and combining different eccentric and epicyclical motions, so as to represent with tolerable fidelity the ever varying phenomena of the heavens.

Aristotle had lent his powerful assistance in this, as in other branches of natural philosophy, in enabling the false system to prevail against and obliterate the knowledge of the true, which, as we gather from his own writings, was maintained by some philosophers before his time. Of these ancient opinions, only a few traces now remain, principally preserved in the works of those who were adverse to them.

Archimedes says expressly that Aristarchus of Samos, who lived about B.

For they say that fire is in the centre, and that the earth, which, according to them, is one of the stars, occasions the change of day and night by its own motion, with which it is carried about the centre. Some idea of the supererogatory labour entailed upon astronomers by the adoption of the system which places the earth in the centre, may be formed in a popular manner by observing, in passing through a thickly planted wood, in how complicated a manner the relative positions of the trees appear at each step to be continually changing, and by considering the difficulty with which the laws of their apparent motions could be traced, if we were to attempt to refer these changes to a real motion of the trees instead of the traveller.

The apparent complexity in the heavens is still greater than in the case suggested; because, in addition to the earth's motions, with which all the stars appear to be impressed, each of the planets has also a real motion of its own, which of course greatly contributes to perplex and complicate the general appearances. Accordingly the heavens rapidly became, under this system,.

Maestlin has given a concise enumeration of the principal orbs which belonged to this theory. In what manner this multitude of solid and crystalline orbs were secured from injuring or interfering with each other was not very closely inquired into. The reader will cease to expect any very intelligible explanation of this and numberless other difficulties which belong to this unwieldy machinery when he is introduced to the reasoning by which it was upheld.

Gerolamo Fracastoro, who lived in the sixteenth century, writes in the following terms, in his work entitled Homocentrica, certainly one of the best productions of the day, in which he endeavours to simplify the necessary apparatus, and to explain all the phenomena as the title of his book implies by concentric spheres round the earth. For that which is simple, is altogether single, and singleness is of one only nature, and one nature can be the cause of only one effect; and therefore it is altogether impossible that the stars of themselves should move with such variety of motion.

And besides, if the stars move by themselves, they either move in an empty space, or in a fluid medium like the air. But there cannot be such a thing as empty space, and if there were such a medium, the motion of the star would occasion condensation and rarefaction in different parts of it, which is the property of corruptible bodies and where they exist some violent motion is going on; but the heavens are incorruptible and are not susceptible of violent motion, and hence, and from many other similar reasons, any one who is not obstinate may satisfy himself that the stars cannot have any independent motion.

Some persons may perhaps think that arguments of this force are unnecessarily dragged from the obscurity to which they are now for the most part happily consigned; but it is essential, in order to set Galileo's character and merits in their true light, to show how low at this 14 time philosophy had fallen. For we shall form a very inadequate notion of his powers and deserts if we do not contemplate him in the midst of men who, though of undoubted talent and ingenuity, could so far bewilder themselves as to mistake such a string of unmeaning phrases for argument: we must reflect on the difficulty every one experiences in delivering himself from the erroneous impressions of infancy, which will remain stamped upon the imagination in spite of all the efforts of matured reason to erase them, and consider every step of Galileo's course as a triumph over difficulties of a like nature.

We ought to be fully penetrated with this feeling before we sit down to the perusal of his works, every line of which will then increase our admiration of the penetrating acuteness of his invention and unswerving accuracy of his judgment. In almost every page we discover an allusion to some new experiment, or the germ of some new theory; and amid all this wonderful fertility it is rarely indeed that we find the exuberance of his imagination seducing him from the rigid path of philosophical induction. This is the more remarkable as he was surrounded by friends and contemporaries of a different temperament and much less cautious disposition.

A disadvantageous contrast is occasionally furnished even by the sagacious Bacon, who could so far deviate from the sound principles of inductive philosophy, as to write, for instance, in the following strain, bordering upon the worst manner of the Aristotelians:—"Motion in a circle has no limit, and seems to emanate from the appetite of the body, which moves only for the sake of moving, and that it may follow itself and seek its own embraces, and put in action and enjoy its own nature, and exercise its peculiar operation: on the contrary, motion in a straight line seems transitory, and to move towards a limit of cessation or rest, and that it may reach some point, and then put off its motion.

It is with pain that we observe Delambre taking every opportunity, in his admirable History of Astronomy, to undervalue and sneer at Galileo, seemingly for the sake of elevating the character of Kepler, who appears his principal favourite, but whose merit as a philosopher cannot safely be brought into competition with that of his illustrious contemporary. Delambre is especially dissatisfied with Galileo, for taking no notice, in his "System of the World," of the celebrated laws of the planetary motions which Kepler discovered, and which are now inseparably connected with his name. The analysis of Newton and his successors has now identified those apparently mysterious laws with the general phenomena of motion, and has thus entitled them to an attention of which, before that time, they were scarcely worthy; at any rate not more than is at present the empirical law which includes the distances of all the planets from the sun roughly taken in one algebraical formula.

The observations of Kepler's day were scarcely accurate enough to prove that the relations which he discovered between the distances of the planets from the sun and the periods of their revolutions around him were necessarily to be received as demonstrated truths; and Galileo surely acted most prudently and philosophically in holding himself altogether aloof from Kepler's fanciful devices and numeral concinnities, although, with all the extravagance, they possessed much of the genius of the Platonic reveries, and although it did happen that Galileo, by systematically avoiding them, failed to recognise some important truths.

Galileo probably was thinking of those very laws, when he said of Kepler, "He possesses a bold and free genius, perhaps too much so; but his mode of philosophizing is widely different from mine. In the treatise on the Sphere which bears Galileo's name, and which, if he be indeed the author of it, was composed during the early part of his residence at 15 Padua, he also adopts the Ptolemaic system, placing the earth immoveable in the centre, and adducing against its motion the usual arguments, which in his subsequent writings he ridicules and refutes.

Some doubts have been expressed of its authenticity; but, however this may be, we have it under Galileo's own hand that he taught the Ptolemaic system, in compliance with popular prejudices, for some time after he had privately become a convert to the contrary opinions. In a letter, apparently the first which he wrote to Kepler, dated from Padua, , he says, acknowledging the receipt of Kepler's Mysterium Cosmographicum, "I have as yet read nothing beyond the preface of your book, from which however I catch a glimpse of your meaning, and feel great joy on meeting with so powerful an associate in the pursuit of truth, and consequently such a friend to truth itself, for it is deplorable that there should be so few who care about truth, and who do not persist in their perverse mode of philosophizing; but as this is not the fit time for lamenting the melancholy condition of our times, but for congratulating you on your elegant discoveries in confirmation of the truth, I shall only add a promise to peruse your book dispassionately, and with a conviction that I shall find in it much to admire.

This I shall do the more willingly because many years ago I became a convert to the opinions of Copernicus , [24] and by that theory have succeeded in fully explaining many phenomena, which on the contrary hypothesis are altogether inexplicable. I have arranged many arguments and confutations of the opposite opinions, which however I have not yet dared to publish , fearing the fate of our master Copernicus, who, although he has earned immortal fame among a few, yet by an infinite number for so only can the number of fools be measured is exploded and derided.

If there were many such as you, I would venture to publish my speculations; but, since that is not so, I shall take time to consider of it. That extraordinary genius never omitted an opportunity of testifying his admiration of Galileo, although there were not wanting persons envious of their good understanding, who exerted themselves to provoke coolness and quarrel between them.

Thus Brutius writes to Kepler in [25] "Galileo tells me he has written to you, and has got your book, which however he denied to Magini, and I abused him for praising you with too many qualifications. I know it to be a fact that, both in his lectures, and elsewhere, he is publishing your inventions as his own; but I have taken care, and shall continue to do so, that all this shall redound not to his credit but to yours.

Menage asserts this in his observations on Diogen. The commentary contains many authorities well worth consulting. Delambre, Histoire de l'Astronomie, infers it from its not containing some opinions which Archimedes tells us were held by Aristarchus. A more direct proof may be gathered from the following blunder of the supposed translator.

Astronomers had been long aware that the earth in different parts of her orbit is at different distances from the sun. Roberval wished to claim for Aristarchus the credit of having known this, and introduced into his book, not only the mention of the fact, but an explanation of its cause. Accordingly he makes Aristarchus give a reason "why the sun's apogee or place of greatest distance from the earth must always be at the north summer solstice.

It is however moveable, and, when Aristarchus lived, was nearly half way between the solstices and equinoxes. He therefore would hardly have given a reason for the necessity of a phenomenon of which, if he observed anything on the subject, he must have observed the contrary. The change in the obliquity of the earth's axis to the ecliptic was known in the time of Roberval, and he accordingly has introduced the proper value which it had in Aristarchus's time.

Non ergo sunt mera figmenta, quibus extra mentem nihil correspondeat. Galileo's reputation was now rapidly increasing: his lectures were attended by many persons of the highest rank; among whom were the Archduke Ferdinand, afterwards Emperor of Germany, the Landgrave of Hesse, and the Princes of Alsace and Mantua. Their illegitimate birth deprived them of favorable marriage prospects, and so their acceptance by the convent provided a security they could not otherwise have hoped for. Galileo was very close to his two daughters, particularly the eldest, Virginia, now known as Sister Mary Celeste, who would become a great support to him in his old age.

Meanwhile, the Church's prohibitions had not diminished his intellectual fire, although for a time he channeled it into more minor pursuits, focusing on safer topics like magnets and motion, the construction of a microscope, and even plans for flood control in northern Italy. But his inability to explore his true interests wore on him, and for a time Galileo seems to have sunk into a deep depression, worsened by bouts of illness and hypochondria. Moreover, from to , a series of terrible winters ruined the economy of Florence, making his gloomy predicament all the worse.

Eventually, however, his spirits revived; Galileo was soon fired up again in astronomical debate, as the August appearance of a magnificent comet sparked disagreement between his disciples and the Jesuit astronomers. While the Church scientists maintained that comets originated beyond the moon, Galileo's theory held mistakenly that they emanated from the earth's atmosphere.

Now jumping personally into the fray, Galileo assisted one of his followers, Mario Guiducci, in writing a pamphlet objecting to the Jesuit view. The pamphlet employed such harsh language—referring to "absurdities" and "monstrosities" of their theory—that the Jesuits recoiled in bitter enmity. They responded to the Guiducci-Galileo treatise in harsh and cutting terms, thus inviting a counter-thrust from the proud Galileo. However, he waited two years before delivering it, composing in the meantime the treatise "The Assayer," which issued a rallying cry for what he believed to be the true path of scientific thought: "Philosophy is written in this grand book, the universe, which stands continually open to our gaze," he wrote.

Without these, one wanders about in a dark and obscure labyrinth. Meanwhile, political developments gave Galileo reason for a new optimism. September saw the death of Galileo's old nemesis, Cardinal Bellarmine. At home in Bellosguardo, Galileo rejoiced at the election, and quickly dedicated "The Assayer" to the new Pope, who allowed it to be published and reportedly roared with laughter at Galileo's verbal tweaking of the Jesuits. Heartened, Galileo journeyed to Rome in April of , and received warm welcome from Urban, who loaded him with gifts and praise—but refused to lift the Inquisition's ban on the Copernican theory.

He and Galileo sparred over the issue, and his arguments seem to have stuck in Galileo's head, for he would put them in the mouth of a foolish character in his forthcoming work, the Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems.