Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Time to Jet to Florence, dear Readers: See Messaggero delle stelle!

Florence: 13 March to 30 August, 2009

The Exhibition Galileo:
"Images of the universe from antiquity to the telescope will be inaugurated at Palazzo Strozzi, in Florence. The exhibition is a journey through space and time, exploring the science of the heavens and the birth of the achievements of the classical Greek and Roman the head of the astronomical revolution heralded by Nicolaus Copernicus, confirmed by Galileo and his telescope, and completed by such extraordinary figures as Johannes Kepler, René Descartes and Isaac Newton."

Dear Reader, if you can translate the wonderful information about Peter Sis's "Starry Messenger," (see last image in post) from the folks at Rizzoli, please do let me know and I will reprint it for all to see (leave it in comments, or send me an email...I'm not picky). This new version of the starry Sis classic (more info, here) will be available at the beginning of April.

And, for that little touch of class you have come to expect from art.books.children, we've included a final salute from Galileo...his preserved finger, which is housed in the Museo di storia del scienza, Firenze. A bit of the story behind it all:

The Messenger from the Stars
"This short book created a revolution in astronomy – and in the history of science! Based on his observations of the moon in 1609, the Starry Messenger was published in Venice the following year. The publication was met with a storm of protest, and several rivals argued that the moons of Jupiter – which Galileo dubbed the Medicean stars – were mere artefacts caused by the faulty lenses of his telescope. But the real revolution was the use of the telescope to see celestial objects that had been hidden to the naked eye for the first time in the history of humankind.

 The proposal that the earth circled the sun not only shocked contemporary astronomers, but challenged the teachings of the Church, which preached that the earth was the immoveable centre of the universe. Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Chief Two World Systems was banned in 1632, he was forced publicly to recant his beliefs under threat of death a year later, and was placed under house arrest in Arcetri until he died in 1642. In 1992, over 300 years later, Pope John Paul II admitted the Church had been in error. Galileo has long been revered as champion of science over faith, and his middle finger preserved, in the manner of a secular saint." [Biblioteca Nazionale, Firenze]