Galileo Galilei’s mission from the rough wooden chair of the University of Padova from 1592 to 1610 was of the highest level. The Tuscan scientist obtained the prestigious lectureship to teach mathematics at the University of Padova, an important campus of the study in the Serenissima and a prestigious cultural centre which also attracted European students and scholars.
He was welcomed by an atmosphere of cultural openness which was rare at the time and which led him to live the academic life intensely, also welcoming students in his home near the Basilica of St. Anthony. This way Galileo was able to supplement his professor’s pay and finance his experiments and the construction of his instruments.
For Galileo these were fundamental years during which he developed research that changed the modus operandi to observe natural phenomena and the way science is to be understood. Thanks to his instrumentation he expanded scientific knowledge by introducing experimentation. He had inherited an experimental approach to theoretical problems from his musician father and a sound musical education that came in handy in some of his scientific experiments.
By studying the Earth’s gravity and the motion of bodies Galileo discovered the law of the fall of gravity and made the geometric-military compass and the astronomical telescope. He published works that announced his astronomical discoveries and adhered to Copernicanism confirming the heliocentric theory.
From the window and the garden of his house in Padova he observed the sky for a long time discovering phases of Venus, observing for the first time the wrinkled surface of the Moon and the moving spots on the surface of the Sun. In 1610 he also discovered Jupiter’s largest moons, four small shining stars that revolved around the gas giant.
Padova is proud to celebrate Galileo Galilei and his discoveries recalling his dedication to teaching, his scientific research and observations, as well as the places he regularly went to in Padova.