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Galileo, Courtier


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Mario Biagioli is distinguished professor of law and science and technology studies and director of the Center for Innovation Studies at the University of California, Davis.


Biagioli here views Galileo's career in a new light. Instead of the traditional view of Galileo as the ``new scientist'' championing the Copernican cause against the Aristotelians, Biagioli presents a convincing argument for Galileo as the courtly gentleman whose patronage goals drove his scientific work. Biagioli begins by describing how client-patron relationships worked in early 17th-century Italy, how Galileo used those social structures to advance himself from artisan to university professor to Cosimo de Medici's Court Philosopher and how his actions helped raise mathematics and natural science to a respected position. Biagioli then discusses how patronage guided scientific discourse, ending with Galileo's eventual downfall. Though scholarly, this superb book is a joy to read and provides new insight into the history of science.-- Eric D. Albright, Galter Health Sciences Lib., Northwestern Univ., Chicago

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