“Galileo’s Daughter” by Dava Sobel

Because Sobel collected numerous materials from Galileo’s own writings (his personal letters and published works), she revealed much about him through this book, not only his keen intellect, but also his wit and tact, his manifold interests and talents, his loving relationship with his devoted daughter, who comforted and sustained him during the trying years of his life. Through the correspondence of his daughter, a nun of the order of St. Clare of Assisi, Sobel also painted a vivid picture of the lives and practices of poor nuns in that period.

Presented in the proper historical context, against the background of the prevailing religious and philosophical ideologies of his time, Galileo’s views on how science should be practised are truly revolutionary. Although it’s not clear whether or how Galileo reconciled his scientific findings with his Catholic faith, when he was forced to recant by the Inquisition, his struggles and convictions are instructive and inspiring to scientists who follow his steps.

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