Synopses & Reviews
Galileo Galileiandrsquo;s Sidereus Nuncius
is arguably the most dramatic scientific book ever published. It announced new and unexpected phenomena in the heavens, andldquo;unheard of through the ages,andrdquo; revealed by a mysterious new instrument. Galileo had ingeniously improved the rudimentary andldquo;spyglassesandrdquo; that appeared in Europe in 1608, and in the autumn of 1609 he pointed his new instrument at the sky, revealing astonishing sights: mountains on the moon, fixed stars invisible to the naked eye, individual stars in the Milky Way, and four moons around the planet Jupiter. These discoveries changed the terms of the debate between geocentric and heliocentric cosmology and helped ensure the eventual acceptance of the Copernican planetary system.
Albert Van Heldenandrsquo;s beautifully rendered and eminently readable translation is based on the Venice 1610 editionandrsquo;s original Latin text. An introduction, conclusion, and copious notes place the book in its historical and intellectual context, and a new preface, written by Van Helden, highlights recent discoveries in the field, including the detection of a forged copy of Sidereus Nuncius, and new understandings about the political complexities of Galileoandrsquo;s work.
"This fine translation is a god-send. . . . Surely you want to read what Galileo wrote. If so buy this book. Van Helden's introduction is scholarly; no one knows more about Galileo's telescope; the translation is superb; Van Helden's review of the reception of the Sidereal Messenger
is profound; the bibliography is extensive. What more can I say?"—David W. Hughes, The Observatory
"[Sidereus nunclus] has never before been made available in its entirety in a continuous form, with full notes and comment. The introduction, translation and notes by Van Helden are a splendid example of the best scholarship and fullest accessibility. . . . we can now truly get to grips with the phenomenon of Galileo and what his life and work should mean to us today."—Robert Temple, Nature
About the Author
Galileo Galilei (1564andndash;1642) was an Italian physicist, mathematician, philosopher, and astronomer. Albert Van Helden is professor emeritus of history at Rice University and the University of Utrecht. He is translator and coeditor of On Sunspots, also available from the University of Chicago Press, and coeditor of The Origins of the Telescope.
Table of Contents
Preface to the Second Edition
Conclusion: The Reception of Sidereus Nuncius