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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love

Written by Dava Sobel, this is an account of the lives of Galileo Galilei and his daughter, Sister Maria Celeste, based upon the remaining correspondence between the two as well as other biographical sources. Galileo, a man of genius and of deep religious faith, spent a lifetime battling the Roman Catholic Church over his controversial astronomical theories. Maria Celeste, one of his three illegitimate children who eventually entered a convent in Florence, was of a similar bent to her father, described by him as "a woman of exquisite mind, singular goodness, and most tenderly attached to me.”

Through the reading of this book, we become acquainted with the historical events of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, including Bubonic Plague outbreaks and the Thirty Years’ War. We learn of Galileo’s introductory works in the science of physics and his inventions which included the telescope. We are able to observe the actions of this era’s men of politics, religion and science and how they influenced the future. Most of all, we are witness to the expression of deep love and friendship between a father and a daughter.

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