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Galileo - Creativity and Science


Galileo (1564-1642)Galileo - Creativity and Science


Italian scientist and astronomer from Pisa (pictured right).

Founder of modern mechanics

Inventor of the pendulum clock  and pioneer in gravity and motion.

The first person to use a telescope to study the skies.


His most famous book is...

The Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (1632)

This supports Nicholas Copernicus’s idea that the Earth orbited the sun.

But Galileo was forced to publicly reject Copernicus by the Roman Catholic Church in 1633.


Why was he so creative?


1. Lover of learning and truth

He never stopped learning by:Galileo - Creativity and Science

  • passionately believing in scientific truth.
  • doing new things.
  • finding new knowledge (even after he became blind in 1637).

Only enormous pressure and threat of punishment forced him to support the Church’s rejection of Copernicus' correct belief that the Earth orbited the sun.

Pictured right above is Cristiano Banti's 1857 painting of Galileo being questioned by the Church.

Galileo - Creativity and Science

2. Questioning intuition

He disproved the intuitive idea that a heavy object should fall faster than a light one by dropping two balls of different weights from the Tower of Pisa (pictured right).


3. Asking the right questions

To prove that heavy and light objects fall at the same speed, he asked:

“If they were tied together, would the light object help or hinder the fall of the heavy one?”

If it fell slower, the light one would hinder the fall of the heavy one.

But, according to the old theory, because it added weight, the light object would also speed up the heavy one.

This is nonsense, Galileo said, because it can’t help and hinder the fall of the heavy object at the same time.

So they must fall at the same speed, he concluded.

 Galileo - Creativity and Science

4. Challenging existing knowledge (or conventional wisdom)

He supported Copernicus (pictured right), when everybody else believed that the sun orbited the Earth.


5. Experimenting, observation and accuracy

Galileo's two scientific principles have since dominated modern science:

  • experiment and observe the facts to prove an idea, or hypothesis.
  • science is most accurately understood by using mathematics.


6. Applying different subjects

He always looked for interrelationships between different subjects to solve practical problems.

He was the first person to apply mathematics to physics and these two subjects to astronomy.


Key quote on education

You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him to find it for himself.


Key quote on learning

I never met a man so unknowledgeable, I could not learn something from him.


 Key quote on management

Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.


Key quotes on science

Mathematics is the key and door to the sciences.

But it [the Earth] moves (said in support of Copernicus after his recantation before the Spanish Inquisition).

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