Will the Real Galileo Galilei Stand Up Please
Has He Been DNA-ed Yet?
Galileo's Middle Finger Presently at the IMSS in Florence Italy


This note may seem a bit grumpy to some. But please forgive us for our sincere concern about  loosing valuable science funding through reckless anti science stories concerning the trustworthiness of scientist.  This note is intended to be  one more plea  of caution in judging science from those who write about  it. Someone once remarked that "one doesn't know what its like to be a pan cake unless one has been one.  There is some truth in it using Galileo as a case study of how wrong things can get from those playing at  reporting science, and especially those businessman,  politicians' and religions leaders  who are killing (by discrediting ) the messengers (scientist) to save their products, profits or power. 

Who gave us the knowledge of how to achieve  longer healthier productive lives. Why do we feel compelled  to believe it was  those who  take every chance to discredit science, who have not worked in science at a senior level, writing proposals, working in the laboratory,  publishing a substantial number of papers in refereed journals for a substantial number of years. Why?

Professional scientist have a real mess on their hands trying to get their job done and everyone shares in causing this dilemma
Click here read why this is happening.  To see the results of studies reported in the journal "Science" discussing how bad the loss is to everyone  and  some reasons why it is happening to all of us from what some are  calling  smear campaigns against science's creditability.
The authors
 stress neuroscience and of evolutionary biology but it is happening in all science but military research projects.

Is today's Image of Galileo  badly Scrambled ?      It has been said by some  that over the past 400 years Galileo has been thoroughly Sobelized*. He has been transcribed so many times by different authors with different agendas for different audiences, different interests, different cultures, and different languages all building up to a point where today's image of Galileo has been thoroughly scrambled as in the Telephone Pictionary game process.  Some believe that his image has been reduced  to a mere science fiction character.

Galileo has been presented as a hero by some, by others as a  person of questionable morals having children out of wedlock, an erasable,  egocentric personality who put people and his colleagues off. He has  been credited and discredited  as the  founder of the scientific method, inventor of the telescope, and other  scientific instruments. He is best known for his sad experience with, what some believe was, the  "irresponsibility" of the church when it came to the descriptions of the heavenly bodies, an issue which did not impact the daily lives of people at the time, but fostered a hostile environment for unhindered scientific observations and thought processes.

The loss of the real image of Galileo has been accelerated by the growth rate of the information highway (the internet) . On Google there are  over 21.6*10^6  references to the word "'Galileo",  but there are few  in the  10^6 plus Google references that go  back to study Galileo's original documents and instruments.

The Rebirth of the Image of Galileo Galilei ?     There are a few projects such as  the Galileo project which are helpful in deSobelizing our picture of Galileo, bringing him back to the actual world of how science really works showing us the way of the instruments.  These projects are few in number.  They are valuable because they have collected and  translated  many of the original documents, giving  details of the telescopes and the records of Galileo's  observations and making them available for our consideration. To be sure there are a few errors that have creped into even  this scholarly work.  In teasing out the real Galileo from these data, it is important to have a  solid  professional background in the practice of the sciences, the construction practices and materials, the business practices of science and engineering during Galileo's time and in practice today.

For example from our technical perspective we find that not much has changed in how technologists work, or in the difficulties encountered to gain acceptance of new discoveries or in funding basic research. The authors, looking at Galileo from our  experience as an experimental physicist and a chemist's point of view, find that Galileo Galilei really was an excellent technologist in that he applied the  most important tool humans have --  the genetically driven urge to understand how nature and the world around us works. TLM.

 Dava Sobel  is a A fun remarkable writer  of popular expositions of scientific topics covering the people issues of science.

Sobel  technically is "operator"  used in
image processing, particularly within edge detection, It gives an outline of an image.

Comments welcome

Last Modified 08/05/2008 07:20:34 AM
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