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Books - Galileo Galilei

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Who Was Galileo?
by Patricia Brennan Demuth
Grosset & Dunlap (2015)
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Like Michelangelo, Galileo is another Renaissance great known just by his first name--a name that is synonymous with scientific achievement. Born in Pisa, Italy, in the sixteenth century, Galileo contributed to the era's great rebirth of knowledge. He invented a telescope to observe the heavens. From there, not even the sky was the limit! He turned long-held notions about the universe topsy turvy with his support of a sun-centric solar system. Patricia Brennan Demuth offers a sympathetic portrait of a brilliant man who lived in a time when speaking scientific truth to those in power was still a dangerous proposition.



Galileo's Telescope: A European Story
by Massimo Bucciantini, Michele Camerota, Franco Giudice
Harvard University Press (2015)
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Between 1608 and 1610 the canopy of the night sky changed forever, ripped open by an object created almost by accident: a cylinder with lenses at both ends. Galileo’s Telescope tells the story of how an ingenious optical device evolved from a toy-like curiosity into a precision scientific instrument, all in a few years. In transcending the limits of human vision, the telescope transformed humanity’s view of itself and knowledge of the cosmos.

Galileo plays a leading―but by no means solo―part in this riveting tale. He shares the stage with mathematicians, astronomers, and theologians from Paolo Sarpi to Johannes Kepler and Cardinal Bellarmine, sovereigns such as Rudolph II and James I, as well as craftsmen, courtiers, poets, and painters. Starting in the Netherlands, where a spectacle-maker created a spyglass with the modest magnifying power of three, the telescope spread like technological wildfire to Venice, Rome, Prague, Paris, London, and ultimately India and China. Galileo’s celestial discoveries―hundreds of stars previously invisible to the naked eye, lunar mountains, and moons orbiting Jupiter―were announced to the world in his revolutionary treatise Sidereus Nuncius.

Combining science, politics, religion, and the arts, Galileo’s Telescope rewrites the early history of a world-shattering innovation whose visual power ultimately came to embody meanings far beyond the science of the stars.





Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love
by Dava Sobel
Walker & Company (2011)
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Inspired by a long fascination with Galileo, and by the remarkable surviving letters of his daughter Maria Celeste, a cloistered nun, Dava Sobel has crafted a biography that dramatically recolors the personality and accomplishments of a mythic figure whose early-seventeenth-century clash with Catholic doctrine continues to define the schism between science and religion-the man Albert Einstein called "the father of modern physics-indeed of modern science altogether." It is also a stunning portrait of Galileo's daughter, a person hitherto lost to history, described by her father as "a woman of exquisite mind, singular goodness, and most tenderly attached to me."

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 about to be overturned. During that same time, while the bubonic plague wreaked its terrible devastation and the Thirty Years' War tipped fortunes across Europe, Galileo sought to reconcile the Heaven he revered as a good Catholic with the heavens he revealed through his telescope. Filled with human drama and scientific adventure, Galileo's Daughter is an unforgettable story.

Praise for Galileo's Daughter :

"[Sobel] shows herself a virtuoso at encapsulating the history and the politics of science. Her descriptions of Galileo's ideas…are pithy, vivid, and intelligible."-Wall Street Journal



Amazon.com Review:
Everyone knows that Galileo Galilei dropped cannonballs off the leaning tower of Pisa, developed the first reliable telescope, and was convicted by the Inquisition for holding a heretical belief--that the earth revolved around the sun. But did you know he had a daughter? In Galileo's Daughter, Dava Sobel (author of the bestselling Longitude) tells the story of the famous scientist and his illegitimate daughter, Sister Maria Celeste. Sobel bases her book on 124 surviving letters to the scientist from the nun, whom Galileo described as "a woman of exquisite mind, singular goodness, and tenderly attached to me." Their loving correspondence revealed much about their world: the agonies of the bubonic plague, the hardships of monastic life, even Galileo's occasional forgetfulness ("The little basket, which I sent you recently with several pastries, is not mine, and therefore I wish you to return it to me").

While Galileo tangled with the Church, Maria Celeste--whose adopted name was a tribute to her father's fascination with the heavens--provided moral and emotional support with her frequent letters, approving of his work because she knew the depth of his faith. As Sobel notes, "It is difficult today ... to see the Earth at the center of the Universe. Yet that is where Galileo found it." With her fluid prose and graceful turn of phrase, Sobel breathes life into Galileo, his daughter, and the earth-centered world in which they lived. --Sunny Delaney



Galileo for Kids: His Life and Ideas, 25 Activities (For Kids series)
by Richard Panchyk
Chicago Review Press (2005)
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Galileo, one of history's best-known scientists, is introduced in this illuminating activity book. Children will learn how Galileo's revolutionary discoveries and sometimes controversial theories changed his world and laid the groundwork for modern astronomy and physics. This book will inspire kids to be stargazers and future astronauts or scientists as they discover Galileo's life and work. Activities allow children to try some of his theories on their own, with experiments that include playing with gravity and motion, making a pendulum, observing the moon, and painting with light and shadow. Along with the scientific aspects of Galileo's life, his passion for music and art are discussed and exemplified by period engravings, maps, and prints. A time line, glossary, and listings of major science museums, planetariums, and web sites for further exploration complement this activity book.




Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide, Seventh Edition (Wiley Self-Teaching Guides)
by Dinah L. Moche
Wiley (2009)
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Discover the wonders of the night sky with this bestselling Astronomy Guide

For a generation, Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide has introduced hundreds of thousands of readers worldwide to the night sky. Now this classic beginner's guide has been completely revised to bring it up to date with the latest discoveries.

Updated with the latest, most accurate information and more than 100 new graphics and photos, this Seventh Edition features:

  • Web site addresses throughout for the best color images and astronomy resources online
  • Technical ideas made simple without mathematics
  • A beautiful new full-color, glossy insert with spectacular astro-images
  • An interactive format with learning goals, reviews, self-tests, and answers for fast learning
  • Five beginners' Star and Moon maps for fun stargazing

Dinah L. Moché, Ph.D., is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the City University of New York. An award-winning author and lecturer, her books have sold over ten million copies in seven languages.





Sidereus Nuncius, or The Sidereal Messenger
by Galileo Galilei
University of Chicago Press (1989)
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"This fine translation is a god-send. . . . Surely you want to read what Galileo wrote. If so buy this book. Van Helden's introduction is scholarly; no one knows more about Galileo's telescope; the translation is superb; Van Helden's review of the reception of the Sidereal Messenger is profound; the bibliography is extensive. What more can I say? "—David W. Hughes, The Observatory

"[Sidereus nunclus] has never before been made available in its entirety in a continuous form, with full notes and comment. The introduction, translation and notes by Van Helden are a splendid example of the best scholarship and fullest accessibility. . . . we can now truly get to grips with the phenomenon of Galileo and what his life and work should mean to us today."—Robert Temple, Nature




Galileo
by Bertolt Brecht
Grove Press (1994)
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Considered by many to be one of Brecht's masterpieces, Galileo explores the question of a scientist's social and ethical responsibility, as the brilliant Galileo must choose between his life and his life's work when confronted with the demands of the Inquisition. Through the dramatic characterization of the famous physicist, Brecht examines the issues of scientific morality and the difficult relationship between the intellectual and authority. This version of the play is the famous one that was brought to completion by Brecht himself, working with Charles Laughton, who played Galileo in the first two American productions (Hollywood and New York, 1947). Since then the play has become a classic in the world repertoire. "The play which most strongly stamped on my mind a sense of Brecht's great stature as an artist of the modern theatre was Galileo." - Harold Clurman; "Thoughtful and profoundly sensitive." - Newsweek.




Life of Galileo (Penguin Classics)
by Bertolt Brecht
Penguin Classics (2008)
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Galileo Ranks alongside Mother Courage and Mr. Puntila as one of Brecht?s most intensely alive, human, and complex characters. In Life of Galileo, the great Renaissance scientist is in a brutal struggle for freedom from authoritarian dogma. Unable to satisfy his appetite for scientific investigation, he comes into conflict with the Inquisition and must publicly renounce his theories, though in private he goes on working on his revolutionary ideas.



Starry Messenger (1997 Caldecott Honor Book)
by Peter Sís
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (1996)
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"If they had seen what we see, they would have judged as we judge." -- Galileo Galilei

In every age there are courageous people who break with tradition to explore new ideas and challenge accepted truths. Galileo Galilei was just such a man--a genius--and the first to turn the telescope to the skies to map the heavens. In doing so, he offered objective evidence that the earth was not the fixed center of the universe but that it and all the other planets revolved around the sun. Galileo kept careful notes and made beautiful drawings of all that he observed. Through his telescope he brought the starts down to earth for everyone to see.

By changing the way people saw the galaxy, Galileo was also changing the way they saw themselves and their place in the universe. This was very exciting, but to some to some it was deeply disturbing. Galileo has upset the harmonious view of heaven and earth that had been accepted since ancient times. He had turned the world upside down.

In this amazing new book, Peter Sís employs the artist's lens to give us an extraordinary view of the life of Galileo Galilei. Sís tells his story in language as simple as a fairy tale, in pictures as rich and tightly woven as a tapestry, and in Galileo's own words, written more than 350 years ago and still resonant with truth.

Starry Messenger is a 1997 Caldecott Honor Book.



Amazon.com Review:
The story of Galileo is at once inspiring and troubling. The brilliant astronomer was a celebrated scientist who was showered with honors and patronage until his greatest discovery--that the earth circled the sun rather than the other way around--proved to be too much of a threat to prevailing orthodoxy. Peter Sis, author of the wonderful children's book Follow the Dream: The Story of Christopher Columbus, tells Galileo's tale for children ages 8 and older. A brilliant and sophisticated illustrator and a sensitive storyteller, he traces Galileo's life from childhood to his final days as a prisoner of the church. (Click to see a sample spread. © 1996 by Peter Sis. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux.) (Ages 8 and older)



Harmonies Of The World
by Johannes Kepler
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2014)
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The Harmony of the World, by Johannes Kepler, is not only a seminal work in the history of astronomy, but a case study in the creative process of discovery. By rejecting empiricism and sense certainty, Kepler used his mental instruments, geometry and music, to investigate the harmony which orders all fundamental physical processes. The same mental processes which make humans unique must be coherent with the principles of creation and development of the universe as a whole. Kepler is remembered today chiefly for the 3 laws of planetary motion known after him. Rejecting the view of those who regarded astronomical hypotheses as mathematical fictions, Kepler sought to derive the true motions of the planets from physical causes. Yet he combined his search for physical causes with a vision of the world as a manifestation of divine harmony. Kepler's book contradicts Aristotle, who held science back for centuries because of his witting fraud upon the discoveries of Pythagoras, Thales, et al. Aristotle misrepresented the ideas concerning Music, Harmonics, Geometry as well as Astronomy, which Plato described in the Epinomis to be the fount of all knowledge. In this volume, Kepler proves that the pre-Aristotelean hypothesis of a helio-centric universe is correct, and provides the needed data to demonstrate that the planets arrange their orbits around the sun in the manner of a musical scale. Here one can understand the deeper meaning of Harmony, beyond what we hear in music. Kepler seeks out causes, in the musical domain, as well as in the astrophysical domain. Up to the time of this book, no one had solved the puzzle. Though written centuries ago, The Harmony of the World remains a work of genius.




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