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News Posted on October 5, 2010

Professor Biagioli Comments on Galileo for The Times

Professor Mario Biagioli commented for The Times of London on the probability that Galileo, traditionally hailed as the independent inventor of the telescope, lied when he claimed to have developed his instrument without having seen a similar device created earlier by a Dutch scientist. 

An internationally renowned expert in the fields of intellectual property, science studies, and patent history, Biagioli is set to begin teaching the History and Philosophy of Intellectual Property at King Hall in Spring 2011, and serves as founding Director of the Center for Science and Innovation Studies at UC Davis.  He is the author of two books on Galileo that have been widely acclaimed as revolutionary reassessments of the pioneering scientist's career.

The Times article came about as a result of an article Professor Biagioli published in La Stampa, a major Italian newspaper.  Drawing from the La Stampa article, The Times quotes Professor Biagioli regarding a rediscovered letter by Paolo Sarpi--one of Galileo's closest friends--describing the arrival in Venice of "an eyeglass which enables you to see things far away."  Biagioli argues that Sarpi, acting as a patent examiner on behalf of the Venetian government, analyzed the foreign instrument and described it to Galileo, who then went on to "invent" it.