A fresh interpretation of the life of Galileo Galilei, one of history’s greatest and most fascinating scientists, that sheds new light on his discoveries and how he was challenged by science deniers. “We really need this story now, because we’re living through the next chapter of science denial” (Bill McKibben).
Galileo’s story may be more relevant today than ever before. At present, we face enormous crises—such as the minimization of the dangers of climate change—because the science behind these threats is erroneously questioned or ignored. Galileo encountered this problem 400 years ago. His discoveries, based on careful observations and ingenious experiments, contradicted conventional wisdom and the teachings of the church at the time. Consequently, in a blatant assault on freedom of thought, his books were forbidden by church authorities.
Astrophysicist and bestselling author Mario Livio draws on his own scientific expertise to provide captivating insights into how Galileo reached his bold new conclusions about the cosmos and the laws of nature. A freethinker who followed the evidence wherever it led him, Galileo was one of the most significant figures behind the scientific revolution. He believed that every educated person should know science as well as literature, and insisted on reaching the widest audience possible, publishing his books in Italian rather than Latin.
Galileo was put on trial with his life in the balance for refusing to renounce his scientific convictions. He remains a hero and inspiration to scientists and all of those who respect science—which, as Livio reminds us in this gripping book, remains threatened even today.
Mario Livio is an internationally known astrophysicist, a bestselling author, and a popular speaker who has appeared on The Daily Show, 60 Minutes, and NOVA. He is the author of the bestsellers The Golden Ratio, Brilliant Blunders, and Galileo. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
“One would have hoped that the Galileo story could be treated just as the fascinating history this book makes clear it is—but we really need this story now, because we’re living through the next chapter of science denial, with stakes that couldn’t be higher.”
– Bill McKibben, author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
“To better understand the perilous threat of science denialism today, Mario Livio looks back at the scientist who faced the greatest denial of them all: that the Earth revolves around the Sun. By offering us an astrophysicist’s unique perspective on Galileo's life and fate, this engaging work is a must read for anyone who values the contributions of science to society.”
– Marcia Bartusiak, author of The Day We Found the Universe and Dispatches from Planet 3
“Galileo and the Science Deniers is a brilliant, highly readable account of Galileo’s life and accomplishments. The book is a joy to read and provides an accurate and vivid reconstruction of the immense intellectual contributions of Galileo. Livio thoroughly succeeds in illustrating the many facets of Galileo’s versatile personality, and he offers wise and insightful reflections upon the necessity to overcome the division between the humanities and the sciences.”
– Michele Camerota, Galileo scholar, and author of Galileo Galilei e la cultura scientifica nell’età della Controriforma
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