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Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads: Galileo's Daughter

Mon, 09/19/2005 - 1:58pm by TimG

This is one of three titles under consideration for this year's Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads, which will focus on Revolutions In Science: the people, theories, explanations and discoveries that challenged our thinking and changed the world.

The son of a musician, Galileo never left Italy, though his inventions and discoveries were heralded around the world. Most sensationally, his telescopes allowed him to revel a new reality in the heavens and 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.

Inspired by a long fascination with Galileo, and by the remarkable surviving letters of Galileo's daughter, a cloistered nun, Sobel wrote this biography. Moving between Galileo's public life and his daughter's sequestered world, he illuminates the era when humanity's perception of its place in the cosmos was being overturned and when one man sought to reconsile the Heaven he revered as a good Catholic with the heavens he revealed through his telescope.

What did you think of this book? Tell us!

Comments

Oops. Misread the website. I'd love to have this be the book for this year's program. :)

This is a wonderful book, not just about history and science, but how narrow political viewpoints can affect these things. There is much here that is pertinent to current controversies surrounding evolution, and also, stem cell research. This is also an incredibly human book, fathers and daughters will all find something to love here. I was lucky enough to read this book while traveling in Italy. I had not finished it when I visited Santa Croce (where Galileo is buried) the first time. On reading the secret of the tomb, I went back to more fully appreciate the incredible real life and tragedy of Galileo and his daughter.

This is a most wonderful book. One of the best I have read.
But due to the issue of "intelligent design" being pushed in school curriculum, the one about the finch could be a better choice.

Why not all three! Galileo's daughter is wonderful in its portrayal of human caring juxtaposed against authoritarianism and inhumanity provoked by new ideas threatening old authority. I haven't read the other two but they sound great as well.

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