The Crime of Galileo

Discussion in 'Horological Books' started by John Nagle, Mar 4, 2007.

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  1. John Nagle

    John Nagle Guest

    The Crime of Galileo - Giorgio de Santillana, Time Reading Program Special Edition, Time Life Books,Inc. Alexandria , Virginia 1981 reprint pb version

    This book was originally published in 1955 and I can only wonder how it was received.
    Credited with discovering the isochronism of the pendulum at nineteen, at twenty -two he invented his hydrostatic balance, then came the telescope and the havoc created by his views on the center of the universe.
    So, Galileo has a place in horology , thus my listing of this book.
    It is not much of a study of science, rather it becomes a pitiful story of a man tormented by a former benefactor, Pope Urban the VIII and the usual suspects of the church.
    Forced to spend so much time defending himself, various imprisonments, and the inability to use his great mind in useful pursuits I can only wonder
    what could have been.
    Each generation seems to be allowed only a few great minds and when they do come along it seems there is always someone or some institution to ignorantly enter the scene and cheat society of great riches of knowledge!
    It continues today but I leave that to your imagination as my views on current topics would violate the mb rules and probably be a breach of book review etiquette!
    Oh, the heck with that! In the spirit of Galileo, why can't people believe in something and let the others alone!
    This book covers the whole shebang of the persecution of this astonishing individual and ends with his being allowed to move to his own little farm in Arcetri, where he was to face the remaining eight years of his life, and oncoming blindness, under perpetual house arrest.
     
  2. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Registered User
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    This view of Galileo has largely been superceeded by more recent scholarship. He certainly discovered the time keeping of the pendulum but he was quite wrong about it being isochronous. A bit later Huygens got it right.

    When the Holy See tried to change their verdiict they ran into the problem that they had never convicted him. The views he expressed were not the major problem. The Church wanted a correct calendar and entertained most views so long as they were not taken as theological.

    While the pendulum and use of the telescope were important, probably his most important contribution was the development of the general methods of analysis, called kinematics.

    The real problem was that Galileo turn on and bit the hand that protected him. His patron was arising Bishop who became Pope and who had protected him. When Galileo wrote his theories in terms of dialogs he gave Simpliticus, his protagonist for the old theory as an fool with many mannerisms of his protector who had just become Pope.

    Galileo was a very smart guy whose believed that G-d had chosen him to make discoveries and he often got them wrong. For example he initially reported the moons of Jupiter as new planets. Kepler corrected him. He got himself into a lot of trouble by extraneously injecting his views into otherwise unrelated issues. He got his wrist slapped, which compared to what the Spanish Inquisistion did was pretty minor .

    He had the rather arrogant view that he was the only with views worth considering and it got him into trouble. Perhaps that is the lesson.
     
  3. John Nagle

    John Nagle Guest

    While I definitely would never know I guess sometimes this is the curse of genius! Thanks for the post!
     
  4. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    I think there have been geniuses that have not had the emotional blind spot of lack of empathy. It does seem, sadly, that many extremely bright people do have a severe inability to put themselves in other peoples shoes.
     
  5. John Nagle

    John Nagle Guest

    Many of these guys seem to have been a pretty testy lot. Hooke, Newton,
    seems like Huygens and many others might have even been. I think the pursuit of knowledge became their reason for existence and all consuming. There sure have been no end to scientific feuds in history!
     
  6. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    I guess they are like the rest of us and suffer the same foibles. While I don't doubt they wished to further their own knowledge and make advances in science some may have had an overwhelming sense of always being right and also dare I say their own self advancement. Still happens today.
     
  7. John Nagle

    John Nagle Guest

    Here is one book I have not read, Galileo's Daughter. It was written by Dava Sobel of longitude fame. I had the impression it was a historical novel, a genre I do not like.
    Has anyone read this book and what was your opinion?
     
  8. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    I have not read Dava's book, but it did get fairly good reviews when published.

    On the subject of genius, George Graham stands out as one of those who knew how to play well with others. Ben Franklin was also known for his abilities in this regard.

    It might be fun to try to list all the historically nice geniuses.
     
  9. John Nagle

    John Nagle Guest

    Sounds like a winner!

    I'll start:
    Linus Pawling
    Buckminster Fuller
    Marilyn vos Savant
     
  10. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Registered User
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    Galileo's daughter is not a historical novel. It is a popularly accessible scholarly retelling of the relation between Galileo and his daughter. Ms. Sobel based the book on surviving letters between them.
     
  11. bangster

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    I cannot believe what I am reading in this thread. Apparently, according to many, Galileo was an ungrateful swine the world would have been better off without. (Sigh)

    Twas ever thus.

    bangster
     
  12. clockdaddy

    clockdaddy Guest

    Quite the contrary, my friend.
    Galileo was very industrious in his younger years. His involvement with the political aspects of life and the attitude of contempt displayed by him to the "wise men" of the day was his eventual downfall. Many of the geniuses of history lacked the most important aspect of a confrontational existence. They simply lacked TACK!!

    Benjamin Franklin was absolutely brilliant with the use of tack and manipulation to bring others around to his viewpoint. He used his friendly smile to lure in his adversaries and proceeded to slowly but methodically weave his thoughts into their opinions and eventually showing them how similar everything was to "their" way of thinking.

    I heard it said that "Tack is the ability to tell some to go to hell and they joyfully anticipate the trip!" Looking back through the ages, geniuses with tack lived a prosperous life. Geniuses without tack were viewed as lunatics!

    As for me, I think the smart ones are those that know enough to shut their mouths and open their eyes and ears!! Soooo, I'll shut up!!!

    CD
     
  13. Tony Ambruso

    Tony Ambruso Registered User

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    If genuis's mouths were shut, how would they utter their earth-shattering discoveries?:?|
     
  14. John Webb

    John Webb Registered User

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    Tom hit the nail on the head. Recent research indicates that many of these geniuses had Asperger Syndrome, a form of High Functioning Autism. They were born without the ability to function in certain social interactions, such as empathy. Click Here For Asperger Article

    John
     
  15. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    Indeed it is, though the book is actually more about him than her. The author was actually involved in translating the letters into English, all of which were written by him, none written by him seem to have survived or least have not been found.
     
  16. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    Ooops that should have been they were all written by her.
     
  17. FredWJensen

    FredWJensen Registered User

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    Galilieo provided the ground work of mechanics that enabled Newton to create his laws of physics that are still used today for every mechanical device, from bicycles to interplanetary probes. Galileo wrote the first physics book of mechanics "Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences (On the Shoulders of Giants)"
     
  18. FredWJensen

    FredWJensen Registered User

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    Mr. Nagle, is Podunk south of Paradise PA?
     
  19. John Nagle

    John Nagle Guest

    It's John! No I am northeast of you in Reading. I've only been to Paradise once before that I can remember. The few times I have been in that area it always seemed to be overrun by tourists. My first wife was from Lancaster County but she had to go, she was too Mennonite!







    John Nagle http://www.geocities.com/mrb2132000/mypage
     

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