Galileo's Glassworks: The Telescope and the Mirror

By Eileen Reeves | Go to book overview

Chapter Three
Obscure Procedures and Odd Opponents

ANY attempt to gauge the reactions of Galileo and his close associate Paolo Sarpi to the rumor of the Dutch telescope must naturally begin with an assessment of their understanding of telescopic vision prior to their encounter with the news from The Hague. Sarpi's optical study from the late 1570s through 1600 and Galileo's interest in the discipline from his arrival in the Veneto in 1592 through 1607 are of particular importance. Although it would be unwise to assume that these men held identical views about the production of telescopic effects, both were familiar with the ongoing discussion about concave mirrors, and both were acquainted with improvements to the camera obscura and exercises in altimetry. The means of measuring the height or distance of remote structures were at this point incompatible with telescopic effects, but some part of the interest in Galileo's instruments derived from a mistaken belief that such procedures might be combined in a single device. Those expectations—which were clearly an outgrowth of those attendant on

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Galileo's Glassworks: The Telescope and the Mirror
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction - The Hague, 1608 1
  • Chapter One - The Daily Mirror of Empire 15
  • Chapter Two - Idle Inventions 47
  • Chapter Three - Obscure Procedures and Odd Opponents 81
  • Chapter Four - The Dutch Telescope and the French Mirror 115
  • Chapter Five - The Afterlife of a Legend 145
  • Notes 169
  • Acknowledgement 219
  • Index 223
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