This stern looking man is Galileo. His expression may in some part be due to his house arrest in 1633 for heresy. His crime? He believed, based on extensive astronomical observation, that the earth was not at the center of the universe. In 1992 the Catholic Church formally closed the investigation, finally admitting that he was right, closing one of the darker moments in church history.
Here are the telescopes and a lense he used to make his observations.
There was also a cabinet displaying his other instruments.
The Museum has many displays of scientific instruments in its collection from the huge like this armillary sphere, which is a model of objects in the sky.
Down to the tiny, like this glassware. These are thermometers.
There was also a very detailed gory set of anatomical models demonstrating different birth presentations. Here is the one for a forceps delivery.
One striking thing was the detail put into many of the instruments. These weren’t just functional, they had to to look good as well. Here is some decoration on a telescope from the 1700s.
There were also exhibits about the mathematical sciences such as this calculating machine from 1664.
The chemical sciences were also represented. This is Peter Leopold’s chemistry cabinet.
Electrical enquiry didn’t miss out. This winter plate machine from the late 1800s, the largest generator of its kind still in existence, is a device used to generate static electricity.
Overall the exhibit was very interesting, showing the progression of scientific discovery down through the ages.
It’s well worth a visit if you are in town, and it’s just around the corner from the Uffizi so there is really no excuse to miss it.