Between Copernicus and Galileo is the story of Christoph Clavius, the Jesuit astronomer and teacher whose work helped set the standards by which Galileo's famous claims appeared so radical, and whose teachings guided the intellectual and scientific agenda of the Church in the central years of the Scientific Revolution.
Though relatively unknown today, Clavius was enormously influential throughout Europe in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries through his astronomy books—the standard texts used in many colleges and universities, and the tools with which Descartes, Gassendi, and Mersenne, among many others, learned their astronomy. James Lattis uses Clavius's own publications as well as archival materials to trace the central role Clavius played in integrating traditional Ptolemaic astronomy and Aristotelian natural philosophy into an orthodox cosmology. Although Clavius strongly resisted the new cosmologies of Copernicus and Tycho, Galileo's invention of the telescope ultimately eroded the Ptolemaic world view.
By tracing Clavius's views from medieval cosmology the seventeenth century, Lattis illuminates the conceptual shift from Ptolemaic to Copernican astronomy and the social, intellectual, and theological impact of the Scientific Revolution.
Although largely unknown today, during his lifetime Mutio Oddi of Urbino (1569–1639) was a highly esteemed scholar, teacher, and practitioner of a wide range of disciplines related to mathematics. A prime example of the artisan-scholar so prevalent in the late Renaissance, Oddi was also accomplished in the fields of civil and military architecture and the design and retail of mathematical instruments, as well as writing and publishing.
In Between Raphael and Galileo, Alexander Marr resurrects the career and achievements of Oddi in order to examine the ways in which mathematics, material culture, and the book shaped knowledge, society, and the visual arts in late Renaissance Italy. Marr scrutinizes the extensive archive of Oddi papers, documenting Oddi’s collaboration with prominent intellectuals and officials and shedding new light on the practice of science and art during his day. What becomes clear is that Oddi, precisely because he was not spectacularly innovative and did not attain the status of a hero in modern science, is characteristic of the majority of scientific practitioners and educators active in this formative age, particularly those whose energetic popularization of mathematics laid the foundations for the Scientific Revolution. Marr also demonstrates that scientific change in this era was multivalent and contested, governed as much by friendship as by principle and determined as much by places as by purpose.
Plunging the reader into Oddi’s world, Between Raphael and Galileo is a finely wrought and meticulously researched tale of science, art, commerce, and society in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century. It will become required reading for any scholar interested in the history of science, visual art, and print culture of the Early Modern period.
In 1600, the Catholic Inquisition condemned the philosopher and cosmologist Giordano Bruno for heresy, and he was then burned alive in the Campo de’ Fiori in Rome. Historians, scientists, and philosophical scholars have traditionally held that Bruno’s theological beliefs led to his execution, denying any link between his study of the nature of the universe and his trial. But in Burned Alive, Alberto A. Martínez draws on new evidence to claim that Bruno’s cosmological beliefs—that the stars are suns surrounded by planetary worlds like our own, and that the Earth moves because it has a soul—were indeed the primary factor in his condemnation.
Linking Bruno’s trial to later confrontations between the Inquisition and Galileo in 1616 and 1633, Martínez shows how some of the same Inquisitors who judged Bruno challenged Galileo. In particular, one clergyman who authored the most critical reports used by the Inquisition to condemn Galileo in 1633 immediately thereafter wrote an unpublished manuscript in which he denounced Galileo and other followers of Copernicus for their beliefs about the universe: that many worlds exist and that the Earth moves because it has a soul. Challenging the accepted history of astronomy to reveal Bruno as a true innovator whose contributions to the science predate those of Galileo, this book shows that is was cosmology, not theology, that led Bruno to his death.
"In the gallery of what might be called the martyrs of thought, the image of Galileo recanting before the Italian Inquisition stirs the minds of educated modern men second only to the picture of Socrates drinking the Hemlock. That image of Galileo is out of focus . . . because it has been distorted by three centuries of rationalist prejudice and clerical polemics. To refocus it clearly, within the logic of its own time . . . de Santillana has written The Crime of Galileo, a masterly intellectual whodunit which traces not the life but the mental footsteps of Galileo on his road to personal tragedy."—Time
Some years ago, David Freedberg opened a dusty cupboard at Windsor Castle and discovered hundreds of vividly colored, masterfully precise drawings of all sorts of plants and animals from the Old and New Worlds. Coming upon thousands more drawings like them across Europe, Freedberg finally traced them all back to a little-known scientific organization from seventeenth-century Italy called the Academy of Linceans (or Lynxes).
Founded by Prince Federico Cesi in 1603, the Linceans took as their task nothing less than the documentation and classification of all of nature in pictorial form. In this first book-length study of the Linceans to appear in English, Freedberg focuses especially on their unprecedented use of drawings based on microscopic observation and other new techniques of visualization. Where previous thinkers had classified objects based mainly on similarities of external appearance, the Linceans instead turned increasingly to sectioning, dissection, and observation of internal structures. They applied their new research techniques to an incredible variety of subjects, from the objects in the heavens studied by their most famous (and infamous) member Galileo Galilei—whom they supported at the most critical moments of his career—to the flora and fauna of Mexico, bees, fossils, and the reproduction of plants and fungi. But by demonstrating the inadequacy of surface structures for ordering the world, the Linceans unwittingly planted the seeds for the demise of their own favorite method—visual description-as a mode of scientific classification.
Profusely illustrated and engagingly written, Eye of the Lynx uncovers a crucial episode in the development of visual representation and natural history. And perhaps as important, it offers readers a dazzling array of early modern drawings, from magnificently depicted birds and flowers to frogs in amber, monstrously misshapen citrus fruits, and more.
From time to time, the diligent science student huddled over dense volumes of research findings and highly technical data will stumble upon a truly rare treasure: the author’s answer to the question of, “Why?” Why did the authors of these volumes commit themselves so ardently to life in the laboratory? What was it that motivated them to keep their eye to microscope for years on end? Why did the world’s greatest scientists devote their lives to research—an endeavor where failure is the exponentially more likely outcome than success?
In their new anthology, From Galileo to Gell-Mann, Marco Bersanelli and Mario Gargantini have gathered the answers to these fascinating questions from over one hundred of the brightest scientific minds from our past and our present. It is a goldmine of insight that previously could only to be found hidden deep within thousands of scattershot pages of footnotes from out-of-print journals, rare books, and unpublished papers. Throughout the work, Bersanelli and Gargantini also offer insightful commentary and discussion on the readings.
Among the most remarkable similarities that emerge when one considers together these writings from the likes of Albert Einstein, Gregor Mendel, Marie Curie, and others, is the sense of wonder and outright awe at what the study of the natural world can reveal. From Galileo to Gell-Mann makes it clear that science and all parallel attempts to understand our human existence—including fields like philosophy to theology—are viewed as nothing less than grand adventures to those that are probing the limits of what we know.
Informed by currents in sociology, cultural anthropology, and literary theory, Galileo, Courtier is neither a biography nor a conventional history of science. In the court of the Medicis and the Vatican, Galileo fashioned both his career and his science to the demands of patronage and its complex systems of wealth, power, and prestige. Biagioli argues that Galileo's courtly role was integral to his science—the questions he chose to examine, his methods, even his conclusions.
Galileo, Courtier is a fascinating cultural and social history of science highlighting the workings of power, patronage, and credibility in the development of science.
Duhem's 1908 essay questions the relation between physical theory and metaphysics and, more specifically, between astronomy and physics–an issue still of importance today. He critiques the answers given by Greek thought, Arabic science, medieval Christian scholasticism, and, finally, the astronomers of the Renaissance.