After enjoying excerpts from Galileo's dialogues, I've decide that my next reading project will be the full text of Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. This one will probably take a while, but so be it.
The "two cultures" problem of the academic world, in which it is considered barbaric to have no interest in art or literature or history but quite acceptable to laugh and say "Yeah, I never got math or science", is well-illustrated by Galileo's position in the Western canon, or perhaps his lack of a position in the Western canon. Every educated person knows his name and a few anecdotes (and probably apocryphal anecdotes) but there are far more educated people who have read Plato than have read Galileo. (For the record, I've read Plato's Symposium and the Republic.) This is a strange thing when you consider that our modern view of the universe owes so much to him, and that Galileo's view of the relationship between science and religion remains controversial (to both secularists and believers) in the modern world, yet is also an apt description of the views of many of the religious believers working in the sciences today. It is strange that the writings of such a pivotal figure in the development of modern science and Western culture are not nearly as widely-studied as those of Western thinkers outside the sciences.