When Galileo heard news of telescopes invented in the Netherlands he worked out the underlying geometry and crafted one of his own design. In this work, Galileo published the first observations of the heavens made with the telescope. His sensational discoveries included mountains on the Moon, vast numbers of previously undetected stars and four satellites of Jupiter.
From the top of San Marco’s campanile, Galileo demonstrated to Venetian senators how his telescope could identify ships while they were still far out from shore. This offered a strategic advantage for a city vulnerable to attacks by sea. Then, rather than charging an exorbitant fee, he donated a telescope to the Senate. In gratitude, they more than doubled his salary. However, as a mathematician-engineer, low in the disciplinary hierarchy at the university, Galileo still earned much less than Cesare Cremonini, a leading Aristotelian physicist at Padua. Yet with funding improved, he turned the telescope toward the heavens and proceeded to shake the world with sensational astronomical discoveries.
(On display in Bizzell Memorial Library, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2017; Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Spring 2016.).