When Galileo Galilei pointed his telescope to the skies, he ushered in a scientific revolution: the Moon turned out to be covered with mountains and craters, stars popped out of nowhere, and four satellites were found to be orbiting Jupiter. His discovery of the phases of Venus in 1610 forever shattered the notion that the Sun orbited the Earth and transformed humanity’s sense of itself and its place in the cosmos. It also contributed to the demise of the idea that knowledge about the world was to be found in ancient texts or supernatural authority.
Eavesdrop on an enlightening conversation, and make your own discoveries – about Galileo’s life in the Medici court, his love of wine and women, and how he came to spend his last eight years under house arrest.
About the author:
William R. Shea is Galileo Professor of the History of Science at the University of Padua, Italy (where Galileo himself held the Chair in Mathematics). He has written several books on Galileo and the Scientific Revolution. The latest, written with the Spanish scholar Mariano Artigas, are Galileo in Rome: The Rise and Fall of a Troublesome Genius (2003) and Galileo Observed: Science and the Politics of Belief (2006).
Dava Sobel is an award-winning and best-selling writer of books on the history of science. Her works include Longitude (1995), Galileo’s Daughter (1999) and The Planets (2005).