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Galileo's Instruments of Credit: Telescopes, Images, Secrecy
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Galileo's Instruments of Credit: Telescopes, Images, Secrecy Hardcover - 2006

by Mario Biagioli

From the publisher

In six short years, Galileo Galilei went from being a somewhat obscure mathematics professor running a student boarding house in Padua to a star in the court of Florence to the recipient of dangerous attention from the Inquisition for his support of Copernicanism. In that brief period, Galileo made a series of astronomical discoveries that reshaped the debate over the physical nature of the heavens: he deeply modified the practices and status of astronomy with the introduction of the telescope and pictorial evidence, proposed a radical reconfiguration of the relationship between theology and astronomy, and transformed himself from university mathematician into court philosopher. Galileo's Instruments of Credit proposes radical new interpretations of several key episodes of Galileo's career, including his early telescopic discoveries of 1610, the dispute over sunspots, and the conflict with the Holy Office over the relationship between Copernicanism and Scripture. Galileo's tactics during this time shifted as rapidly as his circumstances, argues Mario Biagioli, and the pace of these changes forced him to respond swiftly to the opportunities and risks posed by unforeseen inventions, further discoveries, and the interventions of his opponents. Focusing on the aspects of Galileo's scientific life that extend beyond the framework of court culture and patronage, Biagioli offers a revisionist account of the different systems of exchanges, communication, and credibility at work in various phases of Galileo's career. Galileo's Instruments of Credit will find grateful readers among scholars of science studies, historical epistemology, visual studies, Galilean science, and late Renaissance astronomy.


  • Title Galileo's Instruments of Credit: Telescopes, Images, Secrecy
  • Author Mario Biagioli
  • Binding Hardcover
  • Edition 1st Edition
  • Pages 316
  • Volumes 1
  • Language ENG
  • Publisher University of Chicago Press, Chicago
  • Date 2006-04
  • Illustrated Yes
  • Features Bibliography, Dust Cover, Illustrated, Index, Table of Contents
  • ISBN 9780226045610 / 0226045617
  • Weight 1.27 lbs (0.58 kg)
  • Dimensions 9.2 x 6.84 x 0.93 in (23.37 x 17.37 x 2.36 cm)
  • Themes
    • Cultural Region: Italy
  • Library of Congress subjects Discoveries in science, Research - Moral and ethical aspects
  • Library of Congress Catalog Number 2005014562
  • Dewey Decimal Code B

About the author

Mario Biagioli is professor of history of science at Harvard University and the author of Galileo, Courtier: The Practice of Science in the Culture of Absolutism, also published by the University of Chicago Press.