What is the importance of Galileo's discoveries?


Quick Answer

Galileo Galilei, more commonly known simply as Galileo, was an Italian scientist and astronomer active during the late 1500s and early 1600s whose pioneering observations and studies have been credited as the birth of modern physics and astronomy. He was a supporter of the Copernican theory that the sun resides at the center of the Solar System and that the Earth rotates around it.

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Full Answer

In 1609, having developed telescopes based on the designs by Dutch eyeglass makers, Galileo decided to point a telescope towards the sky in the hope of learning more about the universe. Despite controversy and ridicule from the Catholic Church, Galileo openly supported the Copernican theory that the Earth rotates around the Sun.

Throughout the 1600s, Galileo published several works based on his discoveries that refuted several Aristotelian explanations. More importantly, despite being a devout Catholic, Galileo's works refuted and challenged biblical claims. The Copernican theory that he supported was officially declared heresy by the Catholic Church in 1616, and Galileo was ordered not to hold, teach or defend the theory in any manner. As a devout Catholic, he honored these orders for a time. His discoveries and the overwhelming amount of evidence he was able to gather earned him the moniker "the father of modern science," and his findings were so compelling that in 1758, the church lifted their ban on work that supported Copernican theory.

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