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Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir…

Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love (original 1999; edition 2011)

by Dava Sobel

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Title:Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love
Authors:Dava Sobel
Info:Walker & Company (2011), Edition: Book Club Edition., Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Biography, Science

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Galileo’s Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love by Dava Sobel (1999)


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English (86)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (88)
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
Last month I read Sobel’s biography of Copernicus, who caused an uproar when he concluded that the Earth was not the center of the universe, but rather revolved around the Sun. Copernicus died shortly after his revolutionary (no pun intended) book was published, and it was Galileo, of course, who bore the brunt of the Catholic Church’s ire when he endorsed Copernicus’ viewpoint. His unpopular opinion led to his being tried and convicted by the Inquisition. Despite this Galileo never lost his faith in God or his belief in both a divine Creator and physics. This book provides the nuts and bolts of Galileo’s story but it’s enhanced by placing it in the context of his relationship with his eldest daughter, who was a cloistered nun from the age of 13. Despite that, their relationship was close and devoted, and the transcripts of her letters to him through the years reveal that she also had a remarkable mind and a lively curiosity about the world her father was discovering. Recommended. ( )
  rosalita | May 12, 2016 |
An entertaining look at Galileo from a different perspective ( )
  M_Clark | Apr 26, 2016 |
I grew up Protestant. I mean PROTESTANT. I don't think there was a Catholic in my family for 500 years. So, now I'm very curious about anything to do with medieval or renaissance history, which naturally includes Catholic history. This book taught me a lot about those subjects and helped me realized that I'm enthralled with physics, too. I'm also very impressed with Galileo -- of course. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
Galileo's Daughter is a biography of Galileo that is enriched by transcripts of actual letters he received from his eldest daughter, a nun living in a convent. While the biographical information is interesting and thorough, the letters make Galileo come alive as a real person through his daughters eyes. Reading her words, the legend of Galileo is transformed into a real man who loved his daughter immensely. He was generous, kind, and always willing to do what he could to help others. He was a passionate man who cared deeply about science and discovery. I learned a lot about Galileo and his discoveries by reading this book. I also learned a lot about the power of the Catholic Church, especially in Italy, in the 17th century. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in learning more about Galileo and this time in history. ( )
  Cora-R | Jan 13, 2016 |
One of those special books to be treasured. Wonderful writing telling a story combining the human & the science.
Read in Samoa Jan 2004 ( )
  mbmackay | Nov 29, 2015 |
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To the fathers
Galileo Galilei
Samuel Hillel Sobel, M.D.,
in loving memory.
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Most Illustrious Lord Father: We are terribly saddened by the death of your cherished sister, our dear aunt; but our sorrow at losing her is as nothing compared to our concern for your sake, because your suffering will be all the greater, Sire, as truly you have no one else left in your world, now that she, who could not have been more precious to you, has departed, and therefore we can only imagine how you sustain the severity of such a sudden and completely unexpected blow.
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Book description
Inspired by a long fascination with Galileo, and by the remarkable surviving letters of Galileo's daughter, a cloistered nun, acclaimed writer Dava Sobel has written a biography unlike any other of the man Albert Einstein called "the father of modern physics—indeed of modern science altogether."

The son of a musician, Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) tried at first to enter a monastery before engaging the skills that made him the foremost scientist of his day. Though he never left Italy, his inventions and discoveries were heralded around the world. Most sensationally, his telescopes allowed him to reveal a new reality in the heavens and to 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. Of Galileo's three illegitimate children, the eldest best mirrored his own brilliance, industry, and sensibility, and by virtue of these qualities became his confidante. Born Virginia in 1600, she was thirteen when Galileo placed her in a convent near him in Florence, where she took the most appropriate name of Suor Maria Celeste. Her loving support, which Galileo repaid in kind, proved to be her father's greatest source of strength throughout his most productive and tumultuous years. Her presence, through letters which Sobel has translated from their original Italian and masterfully woven into the narrative, graces her father's life now as it did then.

Galileo's Daughter dramatically recolors the personality and accomplishment of a mythic figure whose seventeenth-century clash with Catholic doctrine continues to define the schism between science and religion.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140280553, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:45 -0400)

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Chronicles the life of Galileo Galilei, focusing on his relationship with his eldest child Virginia, and explaining how she helped influence her father's work.

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