Galileo Paperback – 26 Jul 2012
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This is a fine book, well written and fully researched, with excellent colour plates showing mostly contemporary portraits of the principal players (F.W Taylor, University of Oxford, Contemporary Science)
The book is perhaps most impressive for Heilbrons deep immersion in the rich context of his story, particularly the personal, social, and intellectual relations among lesser actors who are often treated as mere names while the spotlight shines on Galileo. (Michael H. Shank, Science & Education)
Heilbron has produced that rare marvel, a splendid new view of a familiar figure, a witty, absorbing, and convincing account of the man and his epoch, destined for the wide readership Galileo himself once had. (Eileen Reeves, ISIS)
About the Author
Professor John Heilbron of the University of California at Berkeley is one of the most distinguished scholars on the Scientific Revolution. He is the author of Geometry Civilized (OUP, 1998) and The Sun in the Church (Harvard, 1999), on science and religion during the 17th century.
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Top Customer Reviews
A couple of things about this book which, for me, enhances the experience compared with many other scientific histories/biographies:- Firstly, there are (brief) discussions of the physical questions that Galileo investigated, with the geometrical explanations in the manner that Galileo presented himself. Secondly, there is a glossary of the people featured in the text (with the the exception of "such household names as Einstein and God"). This is very useful for keeping up with the names of the many different characters (and whether they were they pro- or anti-Galileo, Florentine, Roman, Venetian, Jesuit etc.)
This is one of several very good books about Galileo I have read but, so far, I would put this one top of the list.
First sentence of the Preface: "It will be useful and perhaps reassuring to state that this is not the biography of a mathematician"
First sentence Chapter One: "On the facade of a house near the central train station in Florence there is an immense inscription in stone setting out Galileo's feats" Galileo was born on the day and almost the hour that Michelangelo died.
A random sentence, from page 156: "On 30 January 1610 Galileo informed Vinta that he was in Venice printing his account of the marvels God had vouchsafed unto him, of which the greatest were 'four new planets .. that move around a very large star, like Venus and Mercury, and perhaps the other known planets, do around the sun' "
Final sentence: "Who can doubt that within another 400 years the church will recognize Galileo's divine gifts, atone for his sufferings, ignore his arrogance, and make him a saint?"
This book is a masterpiece, one of the greatest scientific biographies ever written
One for the scholar rather than the dilettante.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting book about a very interesting person.Published 5 months ago by James John Rafferty
An expert and erudite account of the great man's life that fascinatingly sets his work in the context of his early literary interests.Published 7 months ago by cuttlefisher
I found this book irritating in a number of ways. It's weighty, certainly, and fully indexed, but there are what I would call lapses in the scholarly tone. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Elbo
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