Sep 09, 10
Read in September, 2010
Sobel writes a wonderful memoir of the life of Galileo Galilei and his daughter, Nun Suor Maria Celeste, based on the 100+ letters that she wrote to him during her convent years. Galileo's 3 children were illegitimate (he never married); and because of this, the two daughters were not marriageable (he could buy his son a legitimate life but not the daughters). It was the custom to put daughters in a convent and his firstborn daughter was a very happy, very pious, very intelligent woman who dearly loved her father. The story is fascinating - both because it details Galileo's brillance as a mathematician and his love for the church even when he knew they were wrong as well as the loving relationship he had with his daughter. It is believed the Maria Celeste kept the letters she received from Galileo but that they were probably destroyed by the mother abbess at her death daring not to harbor the writings of a vehemently suspected heretic. What a pity! The story details his celestial findings and his persecution by the Church who 'knew the universe rotated around the earth' based on Biblical scripture. Hmmmm!