This Cherished Galileo Letter was Valued as a Gem. But It’s A Complete Fake

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The University of Michigan has shown that a handwritten document purportedly written by Galileo Galilei was a fraud.According to a statement from the library, the one document was a gem in its collection at the University of Michigan.

However, an internal inquiry by a history professor revealed that it is a forgery: watermarks in the paper date only as far back as the 18th century, more than a century after the famous astronomer’s passing.

According to Donna L. Hayward, the interim dean of Michigan’s libraries, “it was quite gut-wrenching when we first found that Galileo was not actually a Galileo,” she told The New York Times last week.

The manuscript has been in the possession of the university since 1938, when Tracy McGregor’s trustees donated it. Tracy McGregor is a Detroit industrialist who bought the manuscript at an auction held by another collector in 1934.

According to the University of Michigan Library, the 1934 sale catalog stated that Cardinal Pietro Maffi (1858-1931), the Archbishop of Pisa, had verified the manuscript’s authenticity by comparing it to other Galileo letters in his possession.

A draft of a letter that Galileo wrote before presenting a new telescope to the Doge of Venice in 1609 can be seen at the top of the document. The State Archive in Venezia, Italy holds the final draft of the letter that the eminent astronomer actually wrote.

A set of notes about the moons of Jupiter that are also based on actual notes Galileo took may be found in the lower half of the paper. The Florence National Central Library in Italy houses the final version of those notes.

Ali Esen

Istanbul University, Department of Mathematics. Interested in science and technology.

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