Galileo's Mathematical-Experimental Method

1842 words 8 pages
Gabriel Glasser
Professor Damnjanovic
December 3, 2012
The Unveiling of the Heavens In summer of 1609, Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) pointed his revolutionary astronomical telescope to the heavens under the starry Venetian sky; his greatly important observations unveiled the mysteries of universe and would end up changing the course of scientific thought forever. Galileo lived in an age where there was much status quo, when scientists and philosophers would accept scientific and religious doctrine that had stood for hundreds, if not thousands, of years instead of challenging the accepted knowledge in favor of intellectual progress. Galileo’s scientific methods lead to significant discoveries explaining key scientific laws, such as the
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These key astronomical observations were the basis for the laws of motion that Galileo would later introduce confirming the Copernican model for a heliocentric solar system.
Galileo’s experiments of the free-falling bodies were important and easily visible proofs represent uniformly varied motion. Galileo showed experimentally that objects of different weights when dropped at the same time will land simultaneously, contradicting Aristotle’s hypothesis that they would land directly proportionally to their weights. In reality, their falls are based on the amount of wind resistance each has instead of their weights (Frova 47). When Galileo ignored wind resistance and assumed the bodies were instead dropped in a vacuum, the rates of acceleration would be exactly the same. Also, regardless of whether the object is dropped directly vertically or is a projectile with a constant speed horizontally, the result will be the same with the objects landing at the same time (without air resistance). The objects which are projected outwards experience a fall with the geometrical shape of a parabola and the rate of the fall is not affected by the horizontal component (Frova 83). This showed that each free-falling body bodies experience a constant vertical acceleration, that of gravity. Galileo’s findings countered the argument of “Simplicios” that the world must be the center of the universe because as long as the acceleration is