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Technology Science

The Galileo Thermometer Was Not Invented By Galileo 57

New submitter GregLaden writes "The object known as the Galileo Thermometer is a vertical glass tube filled with a liquid in which are suspended a number of weighted glass balls. As the temperature of the liquid changes, so does the density. Since each glass ball is set to float at equilibrium in a sightly different density of the liquid, as the temperature increases, each glass ball sinks to the bottom. It turns out that this thermometer was actually invented by a team of instrument inventors that formed a scientific society who had the impressive motto 'Probando e Reprobando,' which in English means 'testing and retesting.' The Accademia del Cimento operated under the leadership of the Grand Duke Ferdinand II from 1657-1667 in Florence, Italy. According to Peter Loyson, who has written a corrective article for the Journal of Chemical Education, Galileo did invent a temperature measuring device called a thermoscope."
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The Galileo Thermometer Was Not Invented By Galileo

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  • by oakgrove ( 845019 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:03PM (#41265857)

    My understanding was that Torricelli who was a pupil of Galileo actually built the "Galileo Thermometer". It would seem to be appropriately named as even today when a grad student makes a discovery or somebody dreams up some patentable something, the credit usually goes to the professor or company the person is working under.

    Or maybe I'm wrong.

    • by oakgrove ( 845019 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:09PM (#41265965)
      To further expand on this, Viviani who was a pupil of Torricelli and also one of the first members of The Accademia del Cimento is credited with having improved the Galileo Thermometer but he didn't actually invent it. I thought all of this was widely known though.
    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      And the newton cradle was not invented my newton.

      Seriously, I never thought the that Galileo mad this. I have read ome stuff, and never came across this claim. I don't know if he made anything. My understanding is that he came up with some idea, had a very skilled craftsperson model it and over time created a product or apparatus. The military compass is one example, though in that case he may not have the first to create it.

      • by rossdee ( 243626 )

        "And the newton cradle was not invented my newton. "

        Of course not - he was only a baby at the time.

        That reminds me of something I heard the other day about the political conventions. "Every politician claims to have been born in the log cabin they built with their own hands."

      • by Guignol ( 159087 )
        Indeed, it was, yes, that too, invented by Apple [newtonsales.com]
        They really are unstoppable
  • by Dishwasha ( 125561 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:05PM (#41265893)

    Don't these scientists understand that there's no way we can remember all of these historical inventors? If we can just say the majority of things in the world were invented by Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Benjamin Franklin, and Nikola Tesla it would make all our lives so much easier. k thx bye

    • by cyberchondriac ( 456626 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:08PM (#41265937) Journal
      Don't forget Edison, whose 1,000+ patents were largely made by various employees and contributors, but he garnered the historical credit.
      • by alexander_686 ( 957440 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:46PM (#41266553)

        But, as we all know, Edison and his employees did not invent anything – they stole everything from Tesla – which has already been mentioned. For proof see:

        http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/ea08/?srp=1 [thinkgeek.com]

        And don’t forget the ancient Egyptians & Chinese. Sure, they got most of the tech from Atlantis, but still.

        • Everyone knows the Egyptians traveled to the future and got their stuff from Tesla. All the talk about Atlantis is just what they _want_ you to believe. DUH!

      • Given the he organized and paid for the research that lead to the patents, I have no problems with him getting the credit.

        • I don't have a problem with him getting co-credit, on many of those patents, but I think he should have shared the credit with the inventors who actually made the breakthroughs where Edison had little more involvement than financing it. They did the actual imaginative and intellectual work, his funding and shop helped make it possible. Of course, the inventions he personally worked on or led should be his.
    • Don't these scientists understand that there's no way we can remember

      That's also why I am with the creationists: six days, done

    • Don't forget Apple and Steve Jobs!
    • Really what benefit does that provide? Is it really all that important to remember each and every inventor? It is more work to remember the incorrect inventor, than to just simply not remember at all. Anyone who really does need to know, is better off knowing the real people
  • by Kergan ( 780543 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:07PM (#41265919)

    As with a great many things, you can find prior art in ancient Greece:

    http://www.eoht.info/page/Thermometer [eoht.info]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Ancient Greeks invented thermometers

      So? The Chinese invented gunpowder, too, but both facts are completely irrelevant to this article.

      Nobody claimed Galileo invented the thermometer. He was incorrectly credited for the invention of the Galileo Thermometer.

    • It does not count: they had not patented it.

  • by mcmonkey ( 96054 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:08PM (#41265935) Homepage

    I couldn't have told who invented the Galileo Thermometer, but I could have told you it wasn't Galileo.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stigler's_law_of_eponymy [wikipedia.org]

  • by wcrowe ( 94389 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:16PM (#41266085)

    It did not explain how the device came to be known as a Galileo Thermometer.

    • by Jeng ( 926980 )

      Nor did it say the name of the person who actually did create it, instead just mentions some scientific society.

      I bet if we knew who did invent it, that would tell us why it is know as it is.

      • Well, the Accademia del Cimento's records have mostly been lost. Most of what we know about them is pieced together from various letters. But most of their big players were either students of Galileo, or students of students of Galileo. As a poster above noted, it was basically like a bunch of grad students today, performing detailed tests of many of the phenomena that Galileo (the professor) had postulated.
        • by wcrowe ( 94389 )

          So, it's possible that the design was Galileo's, but he didn't actually build the thing. In which case, the moniker is not entirely wrong.

    • It did not explain how the device came to be known as a Galileo Thermometer.

      I'm sure that he was going to call it the "Probando e Reprobando Thermometer" but was prevented from doing so by a DCMA takedown from The Accademia del Cimento.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Galileo also didn't invent the telescope and he wasn't beat on by The Man(tm) for his heliocentric belief either.
    Oh, and Einstein was a world class plagiarist.

  • If that doesn't dispel the global warming myth, nothing will!

  • by Antipater ( 2053064 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:34PM (#41266377)

    Other "corrective articles" by Peter Loyson include:

    "You didn't write that!" - Who really writes the State of the Union?

    Abe Lincoln Didn't Win the Civil War, a Bunch of Soldiers Did

    Did You Know That Comedians Actually Use Scripts?

  • The patent on this item, "Galileo Thermometer, " is in fact owned by me on patent 2354.1245.567. All references to the device, as well as drawings, schematics, or other illustrations are done in violation of my patent, as well as the DMCA.
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Yes. But I own the patent on the Internet-enabled Galileo thermometer.

  • And next you're going to tell me that Kepler didn't invent the space telescope.
    • At least we have good documented evidence that Lou Gehrig discovered Lou Gehrig's disease. Who can forget his speech announcing his discovery to everyone at Yankee Stadium?

  • I suppose next you are going to tell us that Edison never invented the light bulb and Franklin never discovered electricity.

  • These eponymous connections almost never pan out.

    Doctor Joseph-Ignace Guillotin was not beheaded with one of his own devices.

    Dr. Richard J. Gatling was not shot by his own invention, nor was John Garand or John T. Thompson.

    In fact if it wasn't for Mr Blunt Object the whole idea never would have got started in the first place.

  • > who had the impressive motto 'Probando e Reprobando,' which in English means 'testing and retesting.'

    Absoultely not...the motto of Accademia del Cimento was 'provando e riprovando', and it is a quote from Dante's [milano.it] Divine Comedy [divinecomedy.org]. You can find it at the beginning of the third Canto of the Paradiso:

    Quel sol che pria d'amor mi scaldò 'l petto,
    di bella verità m'avea scoverto,
    provando e riprovando, il dolce aspetto;

    Whoever is familiar with ancient italian will correctly translate it as

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis