He was that rarity among physicists, one who could write in a clear, persuasive and entertaining way. His “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems,” in which three noblemen, Salviati, Sagredo and Simplicio, meet in Venice to argue over the relative merits of Ptolemy’s ancient Earth-centered cosmos and the newer Sun-centered Copernicanism, may be the first great piece of popular science writing. | The book was also his downfall. It was Galileo the writer, not Galileo the scientist, who got himself into trouble. Like so many people who are good with words, he succumbed to the temptation of making his opponents seem not just wrong, but also stupid. — George Johnson —Contrarian’s Contrarian: Galileo’s Science Polemics (NY Times)
Reviews of two new books on Galileo, both of which challenge a belief long held and promultaged by the Protestant academics who wrote the history books.
This is really nothing new… but it’s good to see the idea getting coverage in the mainstream press.