Author Topic: February 14th 2014 - More of Galileo  (Read 1712 times)

PeterD

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February 14th 2014 - More of Galileo
« on: February 14, 2014, 03:18:25 pm »
Sometime ago I posted a piece on Galilieo's tomb

In the ensuing conversation djj commented:

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"He was reburied in the main body of the basilica in 1737... during this move, three fingers and a tooth were removed from his remains.  One of these fingers, the middle finger from Galileo's right hand, is currently on exhibition at the Museo Galileo in Florence, Italy."


From the Museo Gaalileo site:

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On March 12, 1737, Galileo's remains were moved from his original grave to the monumental tomb erected in the Basilica of Santa Croce, in Florence. The transfer was arranged by Vincenzo Viviani (1622-1703), his last, affectionate disciple. On this occasion, three fingers and a tooth were removed from Galileo's body. The construction of the tomb and the transfer of the remains eloquently demonstrated the strong resolve of the last Medici ruler of Tuscany, Grand Duke Gian Gastone (1671-1737), to assert the State's autonomy from ecclesiastical interference.


well here we are, taken on another trip, two fingers from his right hand.  A bit gruesome I know, but just take a second to think about what this picture is of.

You are looking at the fingers (index and middle finger, the latter on the white marble plinth) of the hand with which (presuming he was right-handed) Galileo steered his telescope and in doing so effectively started modern observational astronomy - and without which there would  ultimately not have been GZ.


Of the middle finger the Museo Galileo catalogue says:

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This [exhibit] exemplifies the celebration of Galileo as a hero and martyr of science. The [middle] finger was detached from the body by Anton Francesco Gori on March 12, 1737, when Galileo's remains were moved from the original grave to the monumental tomb built on the initiative of Vincenzo Viviani [see my previous Galileo OoTD here ] The finger became the property of Angelo Maria Bandini and was long exhibited at the Biblioteca Laurenziana. In 1841, the relic was transferred to the just-opened Tribuna di Galileo in the Museo di Fisica e Storia Naturale. Together with the Medici-Lorraine instruments, it was eventually moved to the Museo di Storia della Scienza in 1927. On the marble base is carved a commemorative inscription by Tommaso Perelli.

If anyone is in Florence go to the Museum, it is by the Arno, just behind The Uffizi and contains the most remarkable collection of Galileo memorabilia and extraordinary 17th - 19th century scientific instruments.

(Sorry about the reflections, the lighting is such that...)

djj

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Re: February 14th 2014 - More of Galileo
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2014, 05:41:37 pm »
A rare example of what you might call a 'secular relic'. Another example would be slices of Einstein's brain (I quote from the relevant Wikipedia artilce):

"More recently, 46 small portions of Einstein's brain were acquired by the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia. In 2013, these thin slices, mounted on microscope slides, went on exhibit in the museum's permanent galleries."

planetaryscience

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Re: February 14th 2014 - More of Galileo
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2014, 10:13:41 pm »
In the finger on the right, it seems his finger has grown a tentacle-like thing?  ??? ??? I'm pretty sure that's not supposed to be there..
I like to find asteroids and galaxy mergers- but all galaxies are still fine to me.

PeterD

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Re: February 14th 2014 - More of Galileo
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2014, 11:36:47 am »
You are right to point that out. I think that actually there are two objects in that container, but I can't remember what on earth the second one is. I am going back to Florence in a while and if I get the time - or rather if I am allowed the time - I will go back and see what is in there. I am afraid that the museum's site isn't very helpful on the subject.