Known as the “Father of Modern Science,” Italian scientist and scholar Galileo Galilei was a visionary – even though he was visually impaired. Born in 1564 in Pisa, Italy, Galileo was an inventor and astronomer whose theories on the Earth’s place in the universe and laws of motion helped shape modern science as we know it. A prolific inventor, Galileo is credited with inventing the modern telescope, thermometer and the compass.
Galileo was the first person to use a telescope to view the planets and stars. During his viewings, he noted on important fact: it did not appear that the sun and planets orbited the Earth, as it was believed; rather the Earth and planets orbited the sun. His findings forever changed the course of astronomy and got him in trouble with the Catholic Church, which put him on trial for his “crimes” and forced Galileo to confess that he was mistaken in his belief that the Earth was not the center of the universe.
In order to avoid jail, Galileo spent the rest of his life on house arrest in Florence. During this time, his vision began to worsen to the point of blindness due to cataracts and glaucoma. Though nearly blind and confined to his house, Galileo continued to study, invent and write until his death in 1642.