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Reinventing Discovery by Michael Nielsen

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CHAPTER 8

The Challenge of Doing Science in the Open

Late in the year 1609, Galileo Galilei pointed one of his newly built telescopes up at the night sky and began to make one of the most astonishing series of discoveries in the history of science. Galileo’s first major discovery, made in January of 1610, was of the four largest moons of Jupiter. Today, this discovery perhaps seems unremarkable, but it caused the biggest change to our conception of the universe since ancient times. The discovery became a sensation, and Galileo was feted throughout Europe. It also brought him the patronage of one of the wealthiest men in Europe, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo de’ Medici.

With fame and patronage came pressure to repeat his success, and Galileo ...

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