The Hague, 1608
THE Dutch telescope and the Italian scientist Galileo Galilei have enjoyed a durable connection in the popular mind, so much so that one might argue that it was this simple instrument that transformed a rather modest middle-aged scholar and tutor in Padua into Europe's best-known private citizen, the bold icon of the Copernican Revolution, and the most celebrated casualty of Counter-Reformation science. The telescope appears to have changed Galileo's life and the course of early modern astronomy with extraordinary rapidity: about eighteen months elapsed between the invention of the instrument in The Hague and the publication of Galileo's Starry Messenger in Venice, and less than two years passed before he left Padua for Florence to become Mathematician and Philosopher at the Court of the Grand Duke of Tuscany.1 The velocity and magnitude of these events, however, mask the astronomer's own tardy and curiously obscured encounter with the Dutch instrument. The record suggests that Galileo, like several of his peers, initially misunderstood the basic
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Publication information: Book title: Galileo's Glassworks: The Telescope and the Mirror. Contributors: Eileen Reeves - Author. Publisher: Harvard University Press. Place of publication: Cambridge, MA. Publication year: 2008. Page number: 1.
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