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Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), was an Italian physicist and astronomer, most noted for his work on astronomy and falling bodies.

Galileo showed that objects accelarated to the ground independent of their weight by rolling balls of different mass down inclined surfaces. According to the biography of Galileo's pupil Vincenzo Viviani his final proof of this theory involved dropping balls from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, although this is now generally accepted as being untrue, not least because wind resistance would have caused such an experiment to fail.

Galileo's strong support of the Copernican model of the Universe led him into trouble with the Papacy, and he spent the final years of his life under house arrest.