Page count: 408 pages
Category: in Hungarian and English
Original price: 1560 Ft
This is how Galilei lives
Laszlo Vekerdi draws the portrait of Galilei as a man and a scientist against the majestic background of the age. The Master’s carreer determined by a combination of freedom and coercion is documented with thoroughgoing hystorical analysis.
We can take a glimpse at late Renaissance Toscana with the state organisation of the Grand Dukedom, with its economy dominated by guilds, its skilful diplomacy, the ruthless spirit of the Trident Synod and the wrath of the Jesuites. We gain insight into how Galilei’s mathematical humanism harmonized with Italian literary humanism. Young Galilei, having mastered the Aristotelian world-view sees clearly what his Arkhimedean methods and views must stand against.
But it’s still a happy era, when Mathematics, Philosophy and Technology all find room in one mind. This is what allows young Galilei to write lecture notes on the Science of Fortifications as well as on Military Constructions. He conjectured, measured and deduced the time square law of Gravity (should the Reader be unfamiliar with it, please let him consult his or her son’s secondary school Physics textbook.
Then we have the history of the astronomical telescope, how it was devised and what the consequencies the invention had. Once the mountains on the surface of Moon become discernible, the dogma proclaiming the Perfection of Celestial Bodies is no longer tenable. The observations concerning Venus, Jupiter and Saturn testify the changebility of the Heaven and thereby reinforce the statements of the Copernican World System. We understand how, due to his writing on solar spots, Galilei became the most respectable member of the Academy of the Lynx (Accademia dei Lincei) established by Federico Cesi.
During this time Galilei’s intention was to demonstrate the compatibility of the newly discovered scientific truths with the Wholy Script. In 1616 he set up a compromise with the well-meaning Cardinal Bellamino in what can be considered a prelude to the great Trial. They agreed to consider Copernican theory as a mere mathematical hypothesis that may be used never expressly argued for.
Europe, at the time, is imbued with the spirit of the Thirty Years' War and the Counter-Reformation. Referring to recent research on Galilei (although bitterly complaining in the Epilogue about the inaccessibilty of latest results due to lamentable library conditions) Vekerdi mentions (without rendering probable) the possibility that Galilei got into trouble with the Church not so much for the proclamation of Copernican doctrines as for his consistent atomism.
In that time it was aslo difficult to find one’s way among the complicated political interconnections. The Lynx, – because Galilei was by no means a lonely Don Quixote, rather, a prominent member of an intellectual community, – saw the influence of the supporters of the Reform increasing, and by retrospective wisdom, somewhat played down the power of tradition. “Decide for yourself!” – he advises in his Dialogues, after recounting the arguments between the followers of Copernicus and Ptolemaius. Hardly could he have evaded be sentence of the Inquisition. Yet, although the moment of the Trial was perfectly chosen by the Order, it was Reason that compiled moral ammmunition lasting for centuries.