Galileo's Daughter

A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love

Sobel, Dava

(Large Print - 2000)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Galileo's Daughter
Inspired by a long fascination with Galileo and by the remarkable surviving letters of his daughter, a cloistered nun, Dava Sobel has written a biography unlike any other of the man Albert Einstein called "the father of modern physics -- indeed of modern science altogether". In doing so, she also presents a stunning portrait of a person hitherto lost to history, described by her father as "a woman of exquisite mind, singular goodness, and most tenderly attached to me".
Publisher: Thorndike, ME : G.K. Hall ; Bath, England : Chivers Press, 2000
ISBN: 0783889542
Branch Call Number: LGE-TYPE B-G158s
Characteristics: 571 p. (large print) ;,ill., map ;,25 cm


From Library Staff

Presents a biography of the scientist through the surviving letters of his illegitimate daughter Maria Celeste, who wrote him from the Florence convent where she lived from the age of thirteen.

Galileo's oldest child was thirteen when he placed her in a convent near him in Florence, where she took the most appropriate name of Suor Maria Celeste. Her support was her father's greatest source of strength as he lived out his life under house arrest for heresy.

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Dec 27, 2012
  • sess430 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is one of those rare books that entertains and informs. It's a superbly written biography of both Galileo & his older daughter, Virginia, (b. in 1600). She was 13 when Galileo placed her in a convent; & later, in 1616, took her vows with the name of Suor Maria Celeste. Sobel translated 124 of her letters (inc. in the book) written to her father. These give fascinating details of daily life - food, clothing, illnesses (& remedies) such as the plague, etc. during the 17th century. Upon Galileo's death in 1642, his friends wanted to erect a mausoleum befitting such a scientific genius, but Pope Urban VIII forbade it. Sobel dramatically recounts the night - 95 yrs. after his death--that his body was moved to the present ornate mausoleum in the Santa Croce Basilica in Florence. Dozens of wonderful illustrations enhance the reading pleasure of the book. Highly recommended.

Mar 03, 2012
  • kmoyer rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Finally got around to finish reading this book, having initially picking it up some time ago and set it aside after the first few pages. The intricate arguments surrounding astronomical phenomenon doesn’t really interest me – the deductions, the implications of not saying anything that could put existing Church doctrine into question, the minute detail invoked by the political infighting between different schools of thought ... That said, the details about Galileo & his family’s lifestyle – Life in Italian cities during the 1600’s, the convent life of his daughters, his position in society, - I found really interesting – such as the fact that his home was a working estate with hay harvested & fruits made into candies, wine, the medicinal use of herbs etc. Reading about the plague & its effects on everyday life and of the Papal inquisition into his writings was quite riveting reading. Very well written and liked being able to read some of his daughter’s letter directly as I found it helped round out the story.

Dec 06, 2007
  • Cabby rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Finalist of the 2000 Pulitzer prize for biography.


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app16 Version jokkmokk_dbugc_on_patch Last updated 2015/01/26 16:43