A Galileo Document Has Now Been Proven to Be a Forgery.

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Courtesy Of Massimiliano Calamelli (Flickr CC0)

The University of Michigan has announced that a document created by Galileo Galilei has been discovered to be a forgery. As it turns out, the document was created by a forger in the late 1900s.

The document was a jewel from the collection at the University of Michigan Library, as stated in the official statement from the library regarding the forgery. The interim dean of Michigan’s libraries told the New York Times “It was pretty gut-wrenching when we first learned our Galileo was not actually a Galileo.”

Courtesy of Sébastien Bertrand (Flickr CC0)

The document was given to the university on Tracy McGregor’s behalf and has been there ever since. In 1934, McGregor purchased the document at a public auction. It was determined by the auction that the document was authentic because Cardinal Pietro Maffi, the Archbishop of Pisa, compared it to other Galileo letters in his collection, and the results were conclusive.

The top of the manuscript contains a draft letter, which was written before he was going to do a presentation about a new telescope to Doge of Venice in August of 1609. Galileo did write a final version of this document, which resides in the State Archive in Venezia, Italy. The bottom half of the document notes the observations of the moons of Jupiter from Jan. 7-15, 1610.

Nick Wilding saw an image of the document and he knew something was not right. The ink, the handwriting, and some of the word choices did not look right for a 17th-century document, Wilding told the New York Times. Wilding sent an email to the University of Michigan Library curator, Pablo Alvarez, about what he found, in May 2022. the University of Michigan launched an investigation, and three months later the university announced that the document was not officially by Galileo.

Last week the University of Michigan officials stated that Wilding’s findings will make them reconsider the true value of the document. The announcement last week ended on the positive side saying such a reconsideration could make it more important than ever.

Written by Lance Santoyo
Edited by Sheena Robertson


Live Science: Document supposedly written by Galileo is a fake

The Washington Post: University of Michigan library announces Galileo manuscript was a fake

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Massimiliano Calamelli’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Featured and Top Image by Sébastien Bertrand Courtesy of Sébastien Bertrand Flickr Page – Creative Commons License


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