Before Galileo

Before Galileo

The Birth of Modern Science in Medieval Europe

  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781468308501
  • 352 Pages
  • Overlook Books
  • Adult


Histories of modern science often begin with the heroic battle between Galileo and the Catholic Church, which ignited the Scientific Revolution and gave way to the world-changing discoveries of Isaac Newton. Virtually nothing is said about the European scholars who came before. In reality, more than a millennium before the Renaissance, a succession of scholars paved the way for the exciting discoveries usually credited to Galileo, Newton, Copernicus, and others. In Before Galileo, physicist and historian John Freely examines the pioneering research of the first European scientists, many of them monks whose influence ranged far beyond the walls of the monasteries where they studied and wrote.


Praise for Before Galileo:

“Valuable . . . introduces us to the monks and friars who kept scientific inquiry alive.” –The Wall Street Journal

“Physicist John Freely traces this ‘tenuous Ariadne’s thread’ of learning that unspooled from Egypt through Byzantium and the Islamic world.” –Nature

“Freely packs a lot of good stuff into 315 pages and makes the case that modern science in Europe benefited from a thousand years of work leading up to it.  We just have to look past the public relations efforts to find it.” –Science 2.0