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From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary EnglishGalileoGal‧i‧le‧o /ˌɡæləˈleɪəʊ/  (1564–1642) an Italian astronomer (=a scientist who studies the stars), mathematician, and physicist whose many discoveries had a great influence on modern science. He saw mountains and craters (=round holes) on the surface of the Moon, and his study of the changes in the appearance of venus proved that it was moving around the Sun. He also discovered that if you drop objects of different weights in a vacuum, they fall at the same speed. He was punished by the inquisition (=a Roman Catholic organization that punished people who had unacceptable religious beliefs) because he believed that the Sun, not the Earth, was the centre of the universe.
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