There have been a great many biographies written about Galileo, but very few (if any) written by someone with Mario Livio’s credentials. He is an astrophysicist who has worked with the Hubble telescope, the descendant of Galileo’s telescope. As a scientist, he brings a new perspective into Galileo’s story. In a world with science deniers everywhere, where religion is still sometimes in conflict with science, he sees Galileo as a reminder of the importance of freedom of thought.
The book is well written, easy to read, with accounts of Galileo’s struggles to support his family while continuing his research. And of his struggles with the Jesuit scholars who found his research unacceptable. He made his own telescopes, and was determined to confirm Copernicus’s claims that the Earth went around the sun. But even though he was the most famous scientist in Europe, that fame could not protect him when his writings conflicted with the Church.
I enjoyed the book. It’s an easy read. Livio explains Galileo’s findings in layman’s language, and helped me see Galileo as a real person, not just a name.
eGalley review Publication date 5.5.2020