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In 1610, Galileo published the Siderius nuncius, or Starry Messenger, a "hurried little masterpiece" in John Heilbron's words. Presenting to the world his remarkable observations using the recently invented telescope--the craters of the moon, the satellites of Jupiter--Galileo dramatically challenged our idea of the perfection of the heavens and the centrality of the Earth in the universe. Indeed, the appearance of the little book is regarded as one of the great moments in the history of science.
Planned to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the publication of the Starry Messenger, this is a major new biography of Galileo, a fresh and much more rounded view of the great scientist than found in earlier works. Unlike previous biographers, Heilbron shows us that Galileo was far more than a mathematician: he was deeply knowledgeable in the arts, an expert on the epic poet Ariosto, a fine lutenist. More important, Heilbron notes that years of reading the poets and experimenting with literary forms were not mere sidebars--they enabled Galileo to write clearly and plausibly about the most implausible things. Indeed, Galileo changed the world not simply because he revolutionized astronomy, but because he conveyed his discoveries so clearly and crisply that they could not be avoided or denied. If ever a discoverer was perfectly prepared to make and exploit his discovery, it was the dexterous humanist Galileo aiming his first telescope at the sky.
In Galileo, John Heilbron captures not only the great scientist, but also the creative, artistic younger man who would ultimately become the champion of Copernicus, the bAate-noire of the Jesuits, and the best-known of all martyrs to academic freedom.
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 Heilbron's polymathic expertise brings out the complex contours of Galileo's science in a relatively accessible form Nick Wilding, London Review of Books The most thorough and reliable introduction to Galileo now available, and also the best written Nick Wilding, London Review of Books Heilbron's book, to the best of my knowledge, explains more of Galileo's science than any other single book. American Scientist By far the richest account yet produced in English. Science Magazine Lively book. Mail on Sunday Mr Heilbron's ... has much richer scientific detail and will no doubt become the standard, comprehensive biography. International Herald Tribune Professor Heilbron provides a rounded portrait of Galileo. London Review of Books Heilbron's emphasis on Galileo's polymathy is a more accessible and undoubtedly valuable aspect of the book. Andrew Robinson, History Today As well as witticisms, Heilbron delights in scholarly details, and this book bears ample testimony to his assiduous research. Patricia Fara, BBC History Magazine Witty...scholarly...innovative...Heilbron's Galileo is no ordinary eulogy. Patricia Fara, BBC History, November 2010 An awesome command of the vast Galileo literature... [it] will no doubt become the standard, comprehensive biography. Owen Gingerich, New York Times Book Review A masterpiece...It far surpasses all previous biographies of Galileo. Impeccable scholarship. Nick Jardine, professor of the History and Philosophy of Sciences, Cambridge University
Number Of Pages: 508
Published: 1st December 2010
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 17.15 x 5.08
Weight (kg): 0.96