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Galileo's Daughter A Historical Memoir of Science Faith

Dramatically recolors the personality and accomplishment of a mythic figure whose seventeenth century clash with Catholic doctrine continues to define the schism between science and religionInspired by a long fascination with Galileo and by the remarkable surviving letters of Galileo's daughter a cloistered nun Dava Sobel has written a biography unlike any other of the man Albert Einstein called the father of modern physics indeed of modern science altogether Galileo's Daughter also presents a stunning portrait of a person hitherto lost to history described by her father as a woman of exquisite mind singular goodness and most tenderly attached to me The son of a musician Galileo Gahlei 1564 1642 tried at first to enter a monastery before engaging the skills that made him the foremost scientist of his day Though he never left Italy his inventions and discoveries were heralded around the world Most sensationally his telescopes allowed him to reveal a new reality in the heavens and to reinforce the astounding argument that the Earth moves around the Sun For this belief he was brought before the Holy Office of the Inquisition accused of heresy and forced to spend his last years under house arrest Of Galileo's three illegitimate children the eldest best mirrored his own brilliance industry and sensibility and by virtue of these qualities became his confidante Born Virginia in 1600 she was thirteen when Galileo placed her in a convent near him in Florence where she took the most appropriate name of Suor Maria Celeste Her loving support which Galileo repaid in kind proved to be her father's greatest source of strength throughout his most productive and tumultuous years Her presence through letters which Sobel has translated from their original Italian and masterfully woven into the narrative graces her father's life now as it did then Galileo's Daughter dramatically recolors the personality and accomplishment of a mythic figure whose seventeenth century clash with Catholic doctrine continues to define the schism between science and religion Moving between Galileo's grand public life and Maria Celeste's sequestered world Sobel illuminates the Florence of the Medicis and the papal court in Rome during the pivotal era when humanity's perception of its place in the cosmos was being overturned In that same time while the bubonic plague wreaked its terrible devastation and the Thirty Years' War tipped fortunes across Europe one man sought to reconcile the Heaven he revered as a good Catholic with the heavens he revealed through his telescope With all the human drama and scientific adventure that distinguished Longitude Galileo's Daughter is an unforgettable story


10 thoughts on “Galileo's Daughter A Historical Memoir of Science Faith and Love

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    Well it’s really about Galileo The daughter thing is a hook and I found that to be the weakest part of the book Galileo in this historical memoir has had three children by a woman not his wife The daughters are thus unmarriageable and are sent to a convent The daughter of the title sends him letters usually including requests for money This book provides considerable detail about the travails the great scientist endured in his quest to explain the world The Catholic Church is the pre eminent political institution of its time and thus Galileo must deal with the reality he inhabits trying to find ways around the silliness of revealed truth It is entertaining and interesting Not a must read and feel free to skip the letters from his daughter but a worthwhile read nonetheless