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Galileo's Daughter: A Drama of Science,…
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Galileo's Daughter: A Drama of Science, Faith and Love (original 1999; edition 2009)

by Dava Sobel (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,7581031,365 (3.69)240
"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 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. 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 being overturned."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)
Member:mickyc
Title:Galileo's Daughter: A Drama of Science, Faith and Love
Authors:Dava Sobel (Author)
Info:Fourth Estate (2009), Edition: New Ed, 448 pages
Collections:Your library
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Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love by Dava Sobel (1999)

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English (101)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (104)
Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
This book started off rather dry and I am pretty sure that I DNF'd it. ( )
  Robloz | Sep 23, 2021 |
I liked the historical aspects of the book, and the details of Galileo's life, discoveries, and experiments. The reading of letters he exchanged with his daughter really personalized his life story, and made for an iteresting approach to writing this book, but sometimes made the book drag a little for me. I found it fascinating, thinking about how carefully he had to balance the science he discovered against the religious beliefs of the day, and how he had to fight a one-man campaign to overturn the popular notions regarding an earth-centered universe. We consider ourselves members of an enlightend and educated world today, yet the book makes one think of the many similarities between the strict beliefs held by Religious fundamentalists within the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities today compared to the anti-scientific minds of those many hundreds of years ago. If it took the Church two hundred years to take his writings on the the earth rotating around the sun off the banned book list, it makes me wonder how many more years will have to pass for those conservative religious communities to accept what modern science has been demonstrating [b:in our time|280111|Holy Bible|Various|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1173381163s/280111.jpg|6405907].
( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
I read this book for one of my book clubs, but I did pick it to read among a list of choices because I thought it was going to be about Galileo's interesting daughter who was intelligent and contributed to the world in some grand way just as her father did. I was wrong. The book is all about Galileo and his life, but does include some letters from his daughter on such exciting matters as sewing a tablecloth for him or collars for her brother or to ask for money for a cell of her own as she was a nun in a convent, which is where illegitimate daughters were sent with their dowries since they couldn't marry. He had two illegitimate daughters, Marie Celeste, whom he corresponded with and Arcangela and one illegitimate son Vincenzio who was made legitimate. He couldn't marry the mother because she was of a different class, but she would eventually marry after Vincenzio was born.

Marie Celeste's letters were boring to the extreme with her talk of sewing and prayer and her need for money for various things. Marie Celeste's life was I suppose interesting for a nun in that she while she mostly spent it praying and sewing, she also worked in the apothecary shop and teaching Gregorian chants. Her sister did very little we are led to believe. But she did not help people like Mother Theresa did or do anything completely worthwhile with her life. There were intelligent women at that time like the Grand Duke of Milan's grandmother who argued with Galileo himself over his Compernician thoughts about a heliocentric worldview. But Marie Celeste, who read her father's work because she recopied it for him since she had lovely penmanship never once discussed his work with him. His daughter Arcangela was mentally unbalanced either because she was being forced into the life of being a nun or because she truly was crazy. And his son Vincenzio was a pain in the ass who was always letting him down.

Galileo was very progressive for his time and both lauded for his scientific findings and hated for going against Aristotle who reigned supreme for some. He also had to deal with the Church and going against Church doctrine. Other scientists in other countries at the time weren't so hampered and made great strides forward. But it was his work Dialogues that really got him in trouble. It was approved by the Church to be published and was a play about a man who espouses the Copernican thought and one, a stupid one who espouses the Aristotelian point of view and Galileo who is the narrator. It came out to great praise, but then a group of people began to hate it and say it was heretical. The Pope Urban VIII who was on good terms with Galileo had been raked over the coals over the way he was handling the Thirty Years War and he didn't need another scandal so while he didn't read the book, he listened to others who had and believed them when they said it was heretical and brought Galileo to trial.

Frankly, this book just wasn't that interesting. I'm not interested in religious matters or complex scientific ones. And I was feeling pretty pissed and that I had been lied to about what the book was about. I was expecting a book about his daughter and instead got a book about Galileo which I wouldn't have picked up if I'd known that was what it was about. I give it two stars out of five stars.

Quotes

As he had once heard the late Vatican librarian Cesare Cardinal Varonio remark, the Bible was a book about how one goes to Heaven—not how Heaven goes.

-Dava Sobel (Galileo’s Daughter p 65) ( )
  nicolewbrown | Oct 28, 2019 |
Working from her letters to Galileo and from other records of his life, Sobel has created a biography of his daughter, who was a nun. We learn what her life was like and also reprise her father's life, his discoveries and his persecution by the Catholic Church. Their story is a powerful reminder of the importance of fighting for truth, scientific and other truths. We do not have his letters to his daughter; they are assumed to have been destroyed at her death by those who ran the nunnery, but her letters to him show a loving and intellectual relationship between daughter and father.
  styraciflua | Nov 28, 2018 |
Did you know that when Galileo was being tried his daughter in a covenant and they wrote weekly letter? When she was discovered she burnt most of the letters but these are what were found years later. ( )
  ksmedberg | Aug 15, 2018 |
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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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"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 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. 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 being overturned."--BOOK JACKET.

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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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