You might know what is said about Galileo, but not many people know what Galileo himself actually said! His elusive and often misquoted discourse has resulted, over the years, in slurs against his name and reputation as a scientist. Let him speak then, so that he can bring to everyone's attention his message of reason, of intellectual honesty, and of free thinking. A message that, more than ever, is of great relevance in the rampant irrationality of the new millennium. The exposition begins with a blunt 'self-portrait'. A 'forgery' of course, based mainly on extracts from Galileo's writings and private letters; something he would never have dared, nor been allowed, to write for the public. The selection of writings offered includes many of the subjects that were closest to Galileo's heart and mind with lively commentary from both the literary, scientific, and historical viewpoints. For those who want to know the mathematics behind Galileo's theories, each chapter closes with a separate self contained summary.
Thus Spoke Galileo will allow the reader to appreciate the work and the writing-style of a great scientist and author who had a tremendous influence on the modern world.
Preface; Persisting misconceptions - A test; PART I: INTRODUCTION; 1. Posthumous self-portrait of Galileo Galilei, philosopher; 2. The origin of nerves; PART II: REVOLUTIONARY MOTIONS; 3. Almost free fall; 4. Life aboard ship; 5. Towers arrows cannons and birds; PART III: THE PENDULUM AND MUSIC; 6. The divine harmonies; PART IV: THE STARRY SKY ABOVE US; 7. The crystal moon; 8. In the moonlight; PART V: THE SPINNING EARTH; 9. An ingenious wrong theory; 10. The seized atmosphere; 11. Stand still, ever moving sun; PART VI; 12. Infinite finite infinitesimal; 13. Down the slope; PART VII; 14. Archimedes and the weight of air; 15. Wax balls and dew drops; 16. Machines large and small; PART VIII; 17. In horror at a vacuum; 18. The obscure labyrinth of the senses; 19. As fast as light; PART IX: ALL THAT GLITTERS ..; 20. Quarrels among scientists; 21. The scientist and the cicada; EPILOGUE; 22. Conviction and abjuration
The book is remarkable for its clarity, precision and historical accuracy. Numerous drawings, figures and photographs help the reader pick a path through the historical and scientific reconstruction. Nature, Vol. 422, 20 July 2006 I think this is a very welcome book and valuable contribution to a better understanding of the greatness of Galileo's achievements...no doubt, it will be well appreciated by teachers and students of high school and of introductory university courses on science and science history, as well as by the cultivated public at large. Annibale Fantoli, University of Victoria, Canada. This valuable and quite unique book shows in a direct manner the great many interests of Galileo in the domains of science and culture, his prodigious curiosity and his exceptional ability as a science popularizer. Giorgio Parisi, University of Rome "La Sapienza".