Galileo Galilei

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Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
Galileo Pisan-born master astronomer and mathematician, Galileo made many important discoveries including that all falling bodies descend with equal velocity; parabolic paths of projectiles; four moons of Jupiter; solar sunspots and their relation to solar rotation; a perfected refracting telescope; and the utility of the pendulum for measuring time, among others. Galileo was acclaimed as a teacher and astronomer, but ran afoul of the ecclesiastical powers when he supported Copernican theory as part of his work on sunspots. Eventually, Galileo was forced to appear before the Inquisition and was sentenced to disavow his beliefs and to imprisonment, which was commuted to virtual house arrest. Galileo continued his work, however, until he became almost entirely blind, five years before his death.