Today's Featured Biography
The great Tuscan astronomer is best known as the first telescopic observer, the fortunate discoverer of the Medicean stars (so Jupiter's satellites were first named); and what discovery more fitted to immortalize its author than one which revealed new worlds and thus gave additional force to the lesson, that the universe, of which we form so small a part, was not created only for our use or pleasure? Those, however, who consider Galileo only as a fortunate observer, form a very inadequate estimate of one of the most meritorious and successful of those great men who have bestowed their time for the advantage of mankind in tracing out the hidden things of nature. Galileo-Galilei was born at Pisa, February 15, 1564. In childhood he displayed considerable mechanical ingenuity, with a decided taste for the accomplishments of music and painting. His father formed a just estimate of his talents, and at some inconvenience entered him, when nineteen years old, at the university of his native town, intending that he should pursue the medical profession. Galileo was then entirely ignorant of mathematics; and he was led to the study of geometry by a desire thoroughly to understand the principles of his favorite arts. This new pursuit proved so congenial to his taste, that from thenceforward his medical books were entirely neglected. The elder Galilei, a man of liberal acquirements and enlarged mind, did not require the devotion of his son's life to a distasteful pursuit. Fortunately the ...
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