Galileo Galilei is considered to be the father of modern science. Stephen Hawking and other scientists believe that Galileo contributed more to modern science than any other figure in history. He is also considered to be the father of modern physics, astronomy and observational science.
Galileo formulated inertia into a mathematical form, and his work laid the foundation for Isaac Newton's First Law of Motion. He also enhanced the field of astronomy by improving the telescope in order to observe the stars with better accuracy.
His work in the area of astronomy gave credibility to Nicholas Copernicus' heliocentric model, which proposed that the Earth revolved around the sun, as opposed to Ptolemy's geocentric model. This placed Galileo at odds with the Catholic Church's endorsement of the geocentric model. His opposition to church doctrine resulted in his imprisonment, a sentence which was later commuted to house arrest.