Why is Galileo known by his first name, unlike other scientists?
Galileo Galilei didn’t solely go by his first name, mainly because both Galileo and Galilei are the surnames of his family, or clan. Galileo was used by the man himself, and it was placed in front of the other surname because it is the singular expression, whereas Galilei is plural. As the most notable member of his family, the name Galileo was instantly recognisable for him alone, leaving him with little need to use another name. Italian culture at the time also accepted men changing the length of their names to include their father’s name or place of birth depending on the situation. The typical ‘first name followed by surname’ convention as we know it today only came into force in Italy during Galileo’s adulthood.
Unlike Germany and France, Italy hadn’t embraced the first name and surname convention by Galileo’s time