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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 Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love
by Dava Sobel
Walker Books (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



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.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.



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 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.




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.




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




Quirky Sides of Scientists: True Tales of Ingenuity and Error from Physics and Astronomy
by David R Topper
Springer (2007)
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These historical narratives of scientific behavior reveal the often irrational way scientists arrive at and assess their theories. There are stories of Einstein’s stubbornness leading him to reject a correct interpretation of an experiment and miss an important deduction from his own theory, and Newton missing the important deduction from one of his most celebrated discoveries. This enlightening book clearly demonstrates that the greatest minds throughout history arrived at their famous scientific theories in very unorganized ways and they often did not fully grasp the significance and implications of their own work.





The Essential Galileo (Hackett Classics)
by Galileo Galilei
Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. (2008)
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Finocchiaro's new and revised translations have done what the Inquisition could not: they have captured an exceptional range of Galileo's career while also letting him speak--in clear English. No other volume offers more convenient or more reliable access to Galileo's own words, whether on the telescope, the Dialogue, the trial, or the mature theory of motion. --Michael H. Shank, Professor of the History of Science, University of Wisconsin–Madison




The Galileo Connection
by Charles E. Hummel
IVP Books (1986)
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The church disagreed with Galileo. That set off a controversy that rages on today. The passion remains but the issues have changed and the arguments have become more complex. Do miracles conflict with scientific laws? How did the universe begin? Does the creation story in Genesis conflict with evolution? Hummel sets these controversies in historical perspective by telling the fascinating stories of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo and Newton. Through their eyes we see how science flourished and floundered under the influence fo the church, setting the scene for modern conflicts. Then Hummel turns to the Bible, discussing its relationship to science, the place of miracles and the biblical account of the origin of the universe. His treatment of modern controversies is respected and fair-minded. Yet he does not hesitate to criticize the views of others and argue for his own.




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