In 1609, Jacques Badovere wrote a letter to his former teacher telling him of an amazing new instrument from Holland called a “Dutch cylinder.”
With one convex lens placed in front of one concave lens inside the cylinder, the instrument made distant objects appear much closer.
Ships miles away at sea could be seen approaching land.
The teacher was the Italian scientist Galileo Galilei, and he immediately understood how important such an instrument could be in astronomical studies.
He started building his own stronger telescopes, as they were renamed in Italy, until he had made one powerful enough to see details on the Sun, the Moon, and the planets.
The scientific and religious worlds were about to be shaken again.
Galileo Galilei was born in Padua, Italy, in 1564, the same year as William Shakespeare.
He was an excellent student, particularly in mathematics, but he was unable to complete his university degree due to a lack of money.
Despite this, he was named a mathematical lecturer at the University of Pisa, and by 1609 he had made several important scientific discoveries concerning motion and forces.
Galileo became famous when he dropped two objects of different weights off the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and refuted Aristotle’s belief that heavier objects fall faster than lighter ones.
The demonstration made Galileo famous, but his greatest discoveries were yet to come.
Before the invention of the telescope, astronomy had only been a minor interest of his, but what he saw through his telescope would change his life, and the world.
Galileo is considered the first experimental scientist because his experiments combined observation, measurement, and reasoning.