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Israeli Researchers Argue Galileo Was Even More Advanced Than We Thought

University of Haifa's Yaakov Zik and Giora Hon say Galileo had revolutionary theory of telescope optics that he never shared with anyone

By: Daniel Koren
Published: August 6th, 2013 in Health » World
Galileo Galilei

A new study from the University of Haifa suggests that Galileo Galilei, the Italian physicist, astronomer, philosopher and 'Father of Modern Science' who made significant advancements to the way we use telescopes and view the solar system, may have been even more advanced than we originally thought.

Though he did not invent the telescope, Galileo, who is most known for his developments to the theory of gravity, relative motion, and the discovery of Jupiter's largest moons, helped revolutionize it by adapting its design to incorporate more astronomical dimensions.

The new study, which comes from Israeli researchers Yaakov Zik and Giora Hon, explains, upon further examination of Galileo's still-existing telescopes, that the Renaissance astronomer/philosopher must have had unique theories regarding telescopic optics that he, they argue, most likely never shared with anyone.

Zik and Hon believe that in order to make the advancements he did to the telescope he also had to create a revolutionary theory of optics, and one that we have yet to give him credit for.

The improvements Galileo made between summer 1609 and early 1610 were gargantuan. He was able to increase the magnification of his telescope significantly, and also introduced several cutting-edge modifications, including the ability to control its aperture.

The Israeli researchers argue that these advancements, when compared to other technological developments from the 16th century, were simply too progressive to be derived from any other research of that era, and that, logically, the only solution can be that Galileo made the advancements himself, and never told anyone about it.

Galileo first published the astronomical discoveries he made in March 1610 via a pamphlet called Siderus Nuncius. The pamphlet describes the necessary properties a telescope must have, and works to promote Galileo's research and the observations he was able to make thanks to the new advancements.

Zik and Hon argue that the pamphlet is proof that Galileo had to have created a unique theory of telescopic optics alongside his developments to the telescope.

“We submit that Galileo had a novel optical theory which he did not want to divulge, but his practice and the extant instruments display it,” they argue.

Since Galileo never published any of his ideas regarding optical theories, it seems doubtful we will ever know for sure. But it seems Zik and Hon are dedicated to finding out, and exposing Galileo for being an even more advanced scientific genius than he is currently known for.

Related articles: Galileo, Telescope, Telescopic Optics, University of Haifa, Siderus Nuncius, Renaissance, Optical Theory, Gravity, Astronomy
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