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Row Over Galileo's Remains

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Author Topic: Row Over Galileo's Remains  (Read 116 times)
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« on: March 06, 2008, 01:00:37 pm »

                                                      Row over Galileo's remains

By Mark Duff
BBC News, Milan 

Galileo's views saw him accused of heresy

The Renaissance genius Galileo Galilei is once again at the centre of a row between Church and
science more than 360 years after his death.

Italian researchers want to exhume his body for DNA tests to find the cause of the blindness that afflicted him.

They also want to confirm whether the body that shares his grave is that of Galileo's beloved daughter.

Galileo fell foul of the religious authorities of the day when he argued that the Earth revolved around the Sun.

For that he was accused of heresy and condemned to see out his life under house arrest at his villa
in the hills outside Florence.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2008, 07:28:07 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2008, 01:03:26 pm »

Galileo's tomb

Chiesa di Santa Croce

Supportive letters

Researchers in Florence want to exhume the two bodies from the city's Basilica of the Holy Cross,
but the rector of the basilica is having none of it - describing the plan as disrespectful.

For his part, the man leading the bid to exhume the remains, Prof Paulo Galluzzi, says the tests could prove if the other body is that of Galileo's daughter, Sister Maria Celeste.

Her letters to her father sustained him in later life and formed the basis of a bestselling book a few years ago.

"To locate the remains of someone who played an important part in the life of one of history's greatest scientists is a serious, humanitarian task", Prof Galluzzi told the BBC.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2008, 01:13:22 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2008, 01:17:16 pm »

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 --.

From Publishers Weekly

Despite its title, this impressive book proves to be less the story of Galileo's elder daughter, the oldest
of his three illegitimate children, and more the story of Galileo himself and his trial before the Inquisition for arguing that Earth moves around the Sun.

That familiar tale is given a new slant by Sobel's translationAfor the first time into EnglishAof the 124 surviving letters to Galileo by his daughter, Suor Maria Celeste, a Clarisse nun who died at age 33; his letters to her are lost, presumably destroyed by Maria Celeste's convent after her death.

Her letters may not in themselves justify a book; they are devout, full of pious love for the father she addresses as "Sire," only rarely offering information or insight. But Sobel uses them as the accompaniment to, rather than the core of, her story, sounding the element of faith and piety so often missing in other retellings of Galileo's story. For Sobel shows that, in renouncing his discoveries, Galileo acted not just to save his skin but also out of a genuine need to align himself with his church.

With impressive skill and economy, she portrays the social and psychological forces at work in Galileo's trial, particularly the political pressures of the Thirty Years' War, and the passage of the plague through Italy, which cut off travel between Florence, where Galileo lived, and Rome, the seat of the Pope and the Inquisition, delaying Galileo's appearance there and giving his enemies time to conspire.

In a particularly memorable way, Sobel vivifies the hard life of the "Poor Clares," who lived in such abject poverty and seclusion that many were driven mad by their confinement.

It's a wholly involving tale, a worthy follow-up (after four years) to Sobel's surprise bestseller.

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« Last Edit: March 06, 2008, 01:26:24 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
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