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Galileo: The Man and His Science
A Resource Guide to Materials in English

 
printer-friendly version printer-friendly pdf version

by Andrew Fraknoi (Foothill College & Astronomical Society of the Pacific)

© 2008 by Andrew Fraknoi. All rights reserved.

This guide is designed to help introduce beginners to the life and work of the great scientist, who, in many ways, was both the founder of science and the first systematic observer with a telescope. It makes no pretense to being a scholarly or complete bibliography, but simply recommends some accessible entry points to the enormous literature on Galileo.

Table of Contents

1. Galileo Books for Adults

2. Galileo Books for Children

3. Galileo Articles

4. Some Galileo Web Sites

5. Some Galileo Videos

6. Galileo in Fiction


1. Galileo Books for Adults

Drake, Stillman The Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo. 1957, Anchor. Drake, a foremost Galileo authority, translates some of Galileo's key writings, and nicely sets them in context. (See also his Galileo: A Very Short Introduction. 2001, Oxford University Press.)

Maran, Stephen & Marschall, Laurence Galileo's New Universe: The Revolution in Our Understanding of the Cosmos. 2009, Benbella Books. A history of the telescope and its influences on our society and worldview, by two astronomers.

Reeves, Eileen Galileo's Glassworks: The Telescope and the Mirror. 2008, Harvard University Press. A cultural historian fills in the story of the inventions and politics that led to the astronomical telescope and Galileo's work.

Reston, James Galileo: A Life. 1994, Beard Books. A well-reviewed popular biography by a journalist; a good introduction for beginners.

Ronan, Colin Galileo. 1974, Putnams. Now out of print, this is a nicely written introduction by a British science writer and historical specialist, with many illustrations.

Sharratt, Michael Galileo: Decisive Innovator. 1994, Cambridge U. Press. Popular-level biography by a priest/philosophy professor, with a last chapter on the 1992 Papal Commission which reviewed the Galileo case for the Vatican.

Sobel, Dava Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love. 1999, Walker & Co. Galileo's public and private life, seen through the filter of his relationship with his daughter, who was a nun.

table of contents

2. Galileo Books for Children

Bendick, Jeanne Along Came Galileo. 1999, Beautiful Feet Books. A picture book for elementary school children.

MacLachlan, James Galileo Galilei: First Physicist. 1997, Oxford University Press. An introduction for middle school and up; part of the Oxford Portraits in Science series.

Panchyk, Richard Galileo for Kids: His Life and Ideas (with 25 Activities). 2005, Chicago Review Press. For middle-school kids, with some activities for school or home.

Pettenati, Jeanne: Galileo's Journal (1609-1610). 2006, Charlesbridge Books. Illustrated picture book for elementary school readers, chronicling the year Galileo turned the telescope to the heavens.

Sis, Peter Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei. 2000, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. A picture book for children ages 4-8.

Steele, Philip Galileo: The Genius Who Faced the Inquisition. 2005, National Geographic Books. Part of Nat'l Geographic's World History series, for kids ages 9-12.

table of contents

3. Galileo Articles

Gingerich, Owen "The Galileo Affair" in Scientific American, Aug. 1982, p. 132. Reprinted in his The Great Copernicus Chase. 1992, Sky Publishing.

Gingerich, Owen "Galileo and the Phases of Venus" in Sky & Telescope, Dec. 1984, p. 520. Reprinted in his The Great Copernicus Chase. 1992, Sky Publishing.

Gingerich, Owen "How Galileo Changed the Rules of Science" in Sky & Telescope, Mar. 1993, p. 32. Especially useful article, including recent developments.

Lerner, L. & Gosselin, E. "Galileo and the Specter of Bruno" in Scientific American, Nov. 1986, p. 116.

Maran, S. & Marschall, L. "The Moon, the Telescope, and the Birth of the Modern World" in Sky & Telescope, Feb. 2009, p. 28. On Galileo's pioneering observations of the Moon.

Sobel, Dava "The Heretic's Daughter: A Startling Correspondence Reveals a New Portrait of Galileo" in The New Yorker, Sep. 13, 1999, p. 52.

table of contents

 

 
 
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