"Galileo's Daughter" by Dava Sobel.

Essay by gyh1579Junior High, 8th gradeA+, November 2002

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Galileo's Battle for the Heavens is primarily a movie showing the science and religion clash of Galileo's quarter century struggle to convince the Roman Catholic Church of his astonishing discoveries. This drama was based on Dava Sobel's novel, "Galileo's Daughter." Galileo Galilei had discovered that the Earth turned on its axis and that it, along with the planets, revolved around the sun. Many scholars thought this view was absurd, since it contradicted certain passages in the Bible and challenged the commonsense experience of the Earth, as a solid, unmoving object, which we know today is untrue. Galileo Galilei is the father of modern science; he was one of the ones who set part of the foundation of physics and astronomy today.

Galileo Galilei was born near Pisa, on February 15, 1564. Galileo was taught by monks at Vallombrosa and then entered the University of Pisa in 1581 to study medicine.

As a young man, Galileo considered the idea of becoming a priest. Instead, he soon turned to philosophy and mathematics, leaving the university without a degree in 1585. He had turned from speculative physics to careful measurements, discovering the law of falling bodies and of the parabolic path of projectiles, studying the motions of pendulums, and investigating mechanics and the strength of materials. He showed little interest in astronomy, although beginning in 1595 he preferred the Copernican theory that the earth revolves around the sun.

Galileo's daughter was born of his long illicit liaison with the beautiful Marina Gamba of Venice. She entered the world in the summer heat of a new century, on August 13, 1600. Galileo had decided to Christian his daughter, Virginia, in honor of his "cherished sister." He was never married to Virginia's mother, he deemed the girl herself unmarriageable. After Virginia's thirteenth birthday, he...