Thursday, July 22, 2010

Galileo's Finger, Science Museums, and the New York Times

Now a particularly enduring Catholic practice is on prominent display in, of all places, Florence’s history of science museum, recently renovated and renamed to honor Galileo: Modern-day supporters of the famous heretic are exhibiting newly recovered bits of his body — three fingers and a gnarly molar sliced from his corpse nearly a century after he died — as if they were the relics of an actual saint.

“He’s a secular saint, and relics are an important symbol of his fight for freedom of thought,” said Paolo Galluzzi, the director of the Galileo Museum, which put the tooth, thumb and index finger on view last month, uniting them with another of the scientist’s digits already in its collection.

“He’s a hero and martyr to science,” he added.
The above image--of Galileo Galileo's preserved finger in its reliquary as now on display in Florence’s history of science museum--and text are drawn from an article that ran in today New York Times. You can read the article--which traces the history of Galileo as well as his preserved fingers and other assorted remains--in its entirety by clicking here.

Image Caption: "Visitors looked at one of Galileo’s fingers, on display at the Galileo Museum in Florence." Photo by Kathryn Cook for The New York Times                            

1 comment:

holly aka golly said...

I saw his finger on exhibit there many years ago - and now with the recent updates there is yet another reason to return to the beautiful city of Florence!