Today's Memory

Galileo Galilei’s birthday

Galileo Galilei’s birthday

Galileo Galilei’s birthday

Originally shared by Ed Pearce

Italian astronomer, physicist, and mathematician Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa (then part of the Duchy of Florence), Italy, on February 15, 1564. He was the first of six children of Vincenzo Galilei and Giulia Ammannati.

Galileo’s father Vincenzio Galilei was a professional singer and lutenist who also dabbled in cloth to make ends meet. He worked as a wool trader in order to make enough to money to attain the aristocratic lifestyle desired by his wife. Vincenzio died in 1591.

Galileo’s mother was Giulia degli Ammannati. An aristocratic, shrewish demanding woman, she was dissatisfied with her middle- class financial status, and ever resentful of Vincenzo’s failure to rise above his lower-class origins.

As a teenager, Galileo’s favourite hobby was making mechanical toys.

Galileo was educated by monks at the Jesuit Monastery School of Vallombrasa, twenty miles east of Florence, where he received a full education in the humanities.

The scholarly bent of the community appealed to Galileo, and in his fourth year at Vallombrosa, he informed his father that he intended to become a monk. His father, who had never held the Church in great esteem, responded by withdrawing him from the monastery and formulating a new plan for his education. For a time Vincenzo taught him personally Latin, Greek, Logic and Mathmatics.

Vincenzo decided that Galileo would enrol at Pisa University, while receiving training in the wool business from a cousin, as a university education did not guarantee financial success.

A failed Medical Student at Pisa University between 1581-85, Galileo sought refuge from the monotony of the lecture theater with a barrage of questions earning himself the sobriquet „The Wrangler.”

A lecture on geometry which he’d wandered into by accident kindled Galileo’s interest in mathematics and he got his father’s consent to switch courses. Though he continued to formally pursue a degree in medicine, Ostilio Ricci, the court mathematician educated Galileo in Geometry and Applied Mathematics in Florence. Galileo left the university in 1585 without a degree.

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