G is for “Galileo’s Daughter” by Dava Sobol. This book is based on 120 letters written by Suor Maria Celeste, Galileo’s daughter who was a nun, to her father. It tells of the close relationship between the two.
Galileo was not married to the mother of his three children and the two girls’ illegitimacy made them unlikely to marry. Galileo sent them both to a convent where they spent the rest of their lives. Maria Celeste entered the convent at age 12 and died there of dysentery in 1634.
Maria Celeste’s letters to her father and his replies kept her connected to the outside world. She advises him on the running of his household and on health matters, and expresses an interest in his work. She comes across as an intelligent woman and a caring daughter.
The book also delves into Galileo’s astronomical discoveries and subsequent controversies with the pope.We learn of his work on the compass,thermometer and motion, as well preliminary work on the scientific method. This book gives us a deeper insight into Galileo’s life and work.