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15 Gripping Facts About Galileo

Albert Einstein once said that the work of Galileo Galilei “marks the real beginning of physics.” And astronomy, too: Galileo was the first to aim a telescope at the night sky, and his discoveries changed our picture of the cosmos. Here are 15 things that you might not know about the father of modern science, who was born February 15, 1564.

1. There’s a reason why Galileo Galilei’s first name echoes his last name.

You may have noticed that Galileo Galilei’s given name is a virtual carbon-copy of his family name. In her book Galileo’s Daughter, Dava Sobel explains that in Galileo’s native Tuscany, it was customary to give the first-born son a Christian name based on the family name (in this case, Galilei). Over the years, the first name won out, and we’ve come to remember the scientist simply as “Galileo.”

2. Galileo Galilei probably never dropped anything off the leaning tower of Pisa.

With its convenient “tilt,” the famous tower in Pisa, where Galileo spent the early part of his career, would have been the perfect place to test his theories of motion, and of falling bodies in particular. Did Galileo drop objects of different weights, to see which would strike the ground first? Unfortunately, we have only one written account of Galileo performing such an experiment, written many years later. Historians suspect that if Galileo taken part in such a grand spectacle, there would be more documentation. (However, physicist Steve Shore did perform the experiment at the tower in 2009; I videotaped it and put the results on YouTube.)

3. Galileo taught his students how to cast horoscopes.

It’s awkward to think of the father of modern science mucking about with astrology. But we should keep two things in mind: First, as historians remind us, it’s problematic to judge past events by today’s standards. We know that astrology is bunk, but in Galileo’s time, astrology was only just beginning to disentangle from astronomy. Besides, Galileo wasn’t rich: A professor who could teach astrological methods would be in greater demand than one who couldn’t.

4. Galileo didn’t like being told what to do.

Maybe you already knew that, based on his eventual kerfuffle with the Roman Catholic Church. But even as a young professor at the University of Pisa, Galileo had a reputation for rocking the boat. The university’s rules demanded that he wear his formal robes at all times. He refused—he thought it was pretentious and considered the bulky gown a nuisance. So the university docked his pay.

5. Galileo Galilei didn’t invent the telescope.

We’re not sure who did, although a Dutch spectacle-maker named Hans Lipperhey often gets the credit (he applied for a patent in the fall of 1608). Within a year, Galileo Galilei obtained one of these Dutch instruments and quickly improved the design. Soon, he had a telescope that could magnify 20 or even 30 times. As historian of science Owen Gingerich has put it, Galileo had managed “to turn a popular carnival toy into a scientific instrument.”

6. A king leaned on Galileo to name planets after him.

Galileo rose to fame in 1610 after discovering, among other things, that the planet Jupiter is accompanied by four little moons, never previously observed (and invisible without telescopic aid). Galileo dubbed them the “Medicean stars” after his patron, Cosimo II of the Medici family, who ruled over Tuscany. The news spread quickly; soon the king of France was asking Galileo if he might discover some more worlds and name them after him.

7. Galileo didn’t have trouble with the church for the first two-thirds of his life.

In fact, the Vatican was keen on acquiring astronomical knowledge, because such data was vital for working out the dates of Easter and other holidays. In 1611, when Galileo visited Rome to show off his telescope to the Jesuit astronomers there, he was welcomed with open arms. The future Pope Urban VIII had one of Galileo’s essays read to him over dinner and even wrote a poem in praise of the scientist. It was only later, when a few disgruntled conservative professors began to speak out against Galileo, that things started to go downhill. It got even worse in 1616, when the Vatican officially denounced the heliocentric (sun-centered) system described by Copernicus, which all of Galileo’s observations seemed to support. And yet, the problem wasn’t Copernicanism. More vexing was the notion of a moving Earth, which seemed to contradict certain verses in the Bible.

8. Galileo probably could have earned a living as an artist.

We think of Galileo as a scientist, but his interests—and talents—straddled several disciplines. Galileo could draw and paint as well as many of his countrymen and was a master of perspective—a skill that no doubt helped him interpret the sights revealed by his telescope. His drawings of the Moon are particularly striking. As the art professor Samuel Edgerton has put it, Galileo’s work shows “the deft brushstrokes of a practiced watercolorist”; his images have “an attractive, soft, and luminescent quality.” Edgerton writes of Galileo’s “almost impressionistic technique” more than 250 years before Impressionism developed.

10. Galileo wrote about relativity long before Einstein.

He didn’t write about exactly the same sort of relativity that Einstein did. But Galileo understood very clearly that motion is relative—that is, that your perception of motion has to do with your own movement as well as that of the object you’re looking at. In fact, if you were locked inside a windowless cabin on a ship, you’d have no way of knowing if the ship was motionless, or moving at a steady speed. More than 250 years later, these ideas would be fodder for the mind of the young Einstein.

10. Galileo never married, but that doesn’t mean he was alone.

Galileo was very close with a beautiful woman from Venice named Marina Gamba; together, they had two daughters and a son. And yet, they never married, nor even shared a home. Why not? As Dava Sobel notes, it was traditional for scholars in those days to remain single; perceived class difference may also have played a role.

11. You can listen to music composed by Galileo’s dad.

Galileo’s father, Vincenzo, was a professional musician and music teacher. Several of his compositions have survived, and you can find modern recordings of them on CD (like this one). The young Galileo learned to play the lute by his father’s side; in time he became an accomplished musician in his own right. His music sense may have aided in his scientific work. With no precision clocks, Galileo was still able to time rolling and falling objects to within mere fractions of a second.

12. His discoveries may have influenced a scene in one of Shakespeare’s late plays.

An amusing point of trivia is that Galileo and Shakespeare were born in the same year (1564). By the time Galileo aimed his telescope at the night sky, however, the English playwright was nearing the end of his career. But he wasn’t quite ready to put down the quill: His late play Cymbeline contains what may be an allusion to one of Galileo’s greatest discoveries—the four moons circling Jupiter. In the play’s final act, the god Jupiter descends from the heavens, and four ghosts dance around him in a circle. It could be a coincidence—or, as I suggest in my book The Science of Shakespeare, it could hint at the Bard’s awareness of one of the great scientific discoveries of the time.

13. Galileo had some big-name visitors while under house arrest.

Charged with “vehement suspicion of heresy,” Galileo spent the final eight years of his life under house arrest in his villa outside of Florence. But he was able to keep writing and, apparently, to receive visitors, among them two famous Englishmen: the poet John Milton and the philosopher Thomas Hobbes.

14. Galileo’s bones have not rested in peace.

When Galileo died in 1642, the Vatican refused to allow his remains to be buried alongside family members in Florence’s Santa Croce Basilica; instead, his bones were relegated to a side chapel. A century later, however, his reputation had improved, and his remains (minus a few fingers) were transferred to their present location, beneath a grand tomb in the basilica’s main chapel. Michelangelo is nearby.

15. Galileo might not have been thrilled with the Vatican’s 1992 “apology.”

In 1992, under Pope John Paul II, the Vatican issued an official statement admitting that it was wrong to have persecuted Galileo. But the statement seemed to place most of the blame on the clerks and theological advisers who worked on Galileo’s case—and not on Pope Urban VIII, who presided over the trial. Nor was the charge of heresy overturned.

By: Dan Falk

Source: 15 Gripping Facts About Galileo

Additional sources: The Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo; Galileo’s Daughter; The Cambridge Companion to Galileo.

Check out Brilliant: http://brilliant.org/biographics →Subscribe for new videos every Monday and Thursday! https://www.youtube.com/c/biographics… This video is sponsored by Brilliant. Visit our companion website for more: http://biographics.org Credits: Host – Simon Whistler Author – Steve Theunissen Producer – Jennifer Da Silva Executive Producer – Shell Harris Business inquiries to biographics.email@gmail.com Other Biographics Videos: Albert Einstein: A Pillar of Modern Physics https://youtu.be/VnVVuLIoSWI Satoshi Nakamoto: The Mysterious Founder of Bitcoin https://youtu.be/2Mlw_jVHq7U Source/Further reading: Galileo by Mitch Stokes Galileo and the Scientific Revolution by Laura Fermi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgaV5…

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NASA Says Earth Is Greener Today Than 20 Years Ago Thanks To China, India

Greening of China and India

NASA has some good news, the world is a greener place today than it was 20 years ago. What prompted the change? Well, it appears China and India can take the majority of the credit.

In contrast to the perception of China and India’s willingness to overexploit land, water and resources for economic gain, the countries are responsible for the largest greening of the planet in the past two decades. The two most populous countries have implemented ambitious tree planting programs and scaled up their implementation and technology around agriculture.

India continues to break world records in tree planting, with 800,000 Indians planting 50 million trees in just 24 hours.

The recent finding by NASA and published in the journal Nature Sustainability, compared satellite data from the mid-1990s to today using high-resolution imagery. Initially, the researchers were unsure what caused the significant uptick in greening around the planet. It was unclear whether a warming planet, increased carbon dioxide (CO2) or a wetter climate could have caused more plants to grow.

After further investigation of the satellite imagery, the researchers found that greening was disproportionately located in China and India. If the greening was primarily a response from climate change and a warming planet, the increased vegetation shouldn’t be limited to country borders. In addition, higher latitude regions should become greener faster than lower latitudes as permafrost melts and areas like northern Russia become more habitable.

The greening of the planet.

The greening of the planet.

Nature Sustainability

The map above shows the relative greening (increase in vegetation) and browning (decrease in vegetation) around the globe. As you can see both China and India have significant greening.

The United States sits at number 7 in the total change in vegetation percent by decade. Of course, the chart below can hide where each country started. For example, a country that largely kept their forests and vegetation intact would have little room to increase percent vegetation whereas a country that heavily relied on deforestation would have more room to grow.

Comparing the greening of various countries around the globe.

Comparing the greening of various countries around the globe.

NASA.gov

NASA used Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to get a detailed picture of Earth’s global vegetation through time. The technique provided up to 500-meter resolution for the past two decades.

Both China and India went through phases of large scale deforestation in the 1970s and 80s, clearing old growth forests for urban development, farming and agriculture. However, it is clear that when presented with a problem, humans are incredibly adept at finding a solution. When the focus shifted in the 90s to reducing air and soil pollution and combating climate change the two countries made tremendous shifts in their overall land use.

It is encouraging to see swift and rapid change in governance and land use when presented with a dilemma. It is something that will continue to be a necessary skill in the decades to come.

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I am a geologist passionate about sharing Earth’s intricacies with you. I received my PhD from Duke University where I studied the geology and climate of the Amazon. I am the founder of Science Trends, a leading source of science news and analysis on everything from climate change to cancer research. Let’s connect @trevornace

 

Source: NASA Says Earth Is Greener Today Than 20 Years Ago Thanks To China, India

Tips to start your own vegetable garden

Having your own outdoor space can be a wonderful thing for your health in so many ways. Not only does it give you some private outdoor space to relax surrounded by nature, take in some fresh air and work off some calories whilst gardening, but it also means you can grow your own organic fruits, vegetables and herbs.

Growing your own vegetables in your garden is relatively easy and even beginners can get some pretty fruitful crops with little to no knowledge. I literally know the bare basics and manage to successfully grow several varieties of vegetables every year by planting seeds directly outside in a mix of soil and my homemade compost.

I have picked up a few tips in the five years I’ve been growing my own and so I will share some tips on how to start your own vegetable garden below.

1.     The right direction

Firstly you need to plant your vegetables in the right place in your garden.  There’s no point in planting your vegetable garden in a dark shaded place that gets no sunlight all day long.  Your plants simply might not grow.  Some vegetables grow quite happily in partly shady spots so do some quick research if you have limited sunlight in your garden and plant vegetables that do well in part shade like rocket, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, carrot and cauliflower.

IMG_0532.JPGJuicy organic carrots fresh from our garden

2.      Pots vs soil

Next is the decision of whether to grow your vegetables in pots or directly in the ground soil.  Or you can build high planters and trugs.  I personally prefer vegetable trugs so I don’t have to bend down and it minimises the amount of pests that get onto the plants.  I never get slugs and snails in my trugs, but I bet I would if I planted directly on the ground.  I currently have a huge high up planter as a strawberry patch as well as two trugs that are growing broad beans this year, but I usually grow leeks, carrots and tomatoes in them too.

Patio veg in pots

I’ve also used pots many times to grow veg and these are great if you only have a patio or want to plant things on a patio space.  My daughter Bella is growing a tomato plant in a pot this year and we have previously used pots to grow courgettes.  Pots can be moved around fairly easily if they are small enough.  For potatoes it’s a great idea to grow them in sacks, we had 10 sacks of potatoes growing one year!

If you have enough space in your garden then you might prefer to create a vegetable patch, or more than one, directly in the ground.  This is a cheaper option too as you won’t need to buy any pots, planters or trugs.

3.     Develop a watering schedule

Don’t forget to water your plants, particularly when it’s dry and sunny for several days in a row.  It’s good practice to water your plants at least once a day if there is no rain and perhaps even twice a day if the weather is particularly hot.  Set up some water butts in the garden to recycle the rainwater which will save money on water bills and help to conserve water too.

IMG_2040.JPGPlanting veg in giant pots

4.     When to plant

Not every vegetable can be planted in every season in the UK.  The main growing season is from the start of spring after the last frost, through to the summer months and end of the summer.  Most plants need planting in the spring and will be ready to harvest in the summer.  There are a few plants that can be planted late and continue growing through the autumn and winter such as leeks, but most vegetables wouldn’t survive the cold months.

Some quick research online will guide you or simply check the directions on the seed packets.  You can also buy plants from garden centres that are ready to be planted outdoors in the correct seasons instead of growing directly from seed.  This is a bit more costly, but perfect practice for absolute beginners.

IMG_0656Planting veg in a trug

5.      Compost

Some people choose to use fertiliser on the soil of the plants to replenish the soil with vital nutrients that the plants need, but I prefer to make homemade compost.  If I did use fertiliser then I would make sure it was natural and organic.  I keep a compost bin at home which we put all our grass clippings into, our food waste and some tissue and cardboard waste.  I then add this to my vegetable trugs each year and mix it in at the top so my soil is full of nutrients for the plants.  I also rotate my plants each year or plant something different so the soil has a chance to recover from the nutrients that have been used.

IMG_7736.JPGTomatoes fresh from our garden

6.     Pest control

Your vegetable garden will not only be attracting your neighbours and friends, but also pests and insects.  If you grow from seed indoors or in a greenhouse and plant out when the plants are more of a substantial size then hopefully the plants will be able to fend for themselves, but if you are planting directly from seed then you might want to put some measures in place to protect your plant.

I always cover my plants with a fine mesh netting until they are around 6 inches tall, especially carrots.  I once read that carrot fly can smell the sweet smell of the carrot seedlings as they sprout, so it’s the most important time to protect them.  I always cover them until they look big enough to look after themselves.  Plants do have their own ways of protecting themselves and it’s how we end up with so many antioxidants in them.

IMG_1095.JPGFine mesh netting to cover freshly planted carrot seeds

Of course, sometimes a crop will get too infested and it will be lost.  I lost all my green beans one year as they were absolutely covered in blackfly and they took over the entire plant!  Yet the year before they thrived and we had an abundance of green beans!

Personally I like to avoid chemicals and keep my plants natural and organic, but there are some homemade pesticide options and a few natural options in stores or online if needed.

Growing your own fruits and vegetables is fun and exciting.  There’s nothing more rewarding than watching them grow and then proudly eating them!  They always taste a lot better than store bought produce.  Gardening can be quite tiring so if you want an easier option, you can use low maintenance artificial grass which requires less maintenance but gives you the same greenery and beauty as real grass and then simply grow your vegetables in pots, trugs and planters!

Source: Tips to start your own vegetable garden

Earth Laughs in Flowers — Discover

Whether you’re an aspiring gardener or just looking for a new blog to spend a few (soothing) minutes in, you’ll love the garden and flower photography on Jude’s blog.

via Earth Laughs in Flowers — Discover

 

 

 

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7 Ideas For Creating Cozy Garden Nooks – kellogggarden

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Close your eyes for a moment and remember when you were a kid, and it was summer. Think about the endless hours you spent in your backyard, relaxing and sometimes doing absolutely nothing. Glorious, wasn’t it? So, now that you’re a bonafide grown-up, who’s to say you can’t enjoy your summer garden in the same way? Summer is all about relaxing and chilling out, from napping in a shady spot to read in a comfy cove, here are 7 ideas for creating your own cozy garden nook. Kids, look out — the grown-ups are taking over……

Read more: https://www.kellogggarden.com/garden-designs/7-ideas-for-creating-cozy-garden-nooks/

 

 

 

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The Gardening Channel

One of the web’s most vibrant communities of current and aspiring green thumbs, The Gardening Channel offers advice and tips on growing vegetable, fruit, and trees, as well as on landscaping, composting, and (much) more.

via The Gardening Channel

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