Galileo and the Scientific Revolution

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"As fresh and invigorating a work in the field of science biography as was its hero in his day." — Science
"A clear exposition of his discoveries, methods, and experiments…Recommended." — Library Journal
An absorbing account of the origins of modern science as well as a biography of the revolutionary thinker, this inspiring book was co-written by a former director of the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics and a historian of science (who was also the wife of physicist Enrico Fermi). It begins in Galileo's youth, with his return to his native city of Pisa to train as a physician. Instead, the student became captivated by the power of mathematical reasoning — an interest that led him to apply mathematical logic to natural events and, ultimately, to invent the concept of experimentation. Galileo's progress from student to teacher to scientific innovator is traced, with particular emphasis on his experiments with building and refining telescopes and his unprecedented observations of the moon and planets. The dramatic results of his findings, including his refutation of Aristotelian theory and his support of Copernican doctrine, are related in full, along with his clash with the papal inquisition and his tragic demise under house arrest. Written with a warm appreciation for the wonders of Galileo's achievements and with impeccable scholarship, this book concludes with a survey of the scientist's remarkable legacy. 12 figures. Appendix. Bibliography. Index.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486432267
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 9/17/2003
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 714,020
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 8.68 (h) x 0.28 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments iv
Introduction: Galileo ... Who was he? 7
Observer of Nature
Inventor of Experiments
Builder of Instruments
Defender of Free Thought
1. Student in Pisa 11
Aristotle's Authority
Swinging Lamps and Pendulums
From Medicine to Mathematics
2. The Young Teacher 21
Archimedes and the Hydrostatic Balance
Teacher in Pisa
De Motu (on Motion)
Falling Bodies
From Pisa to Padua
3. Good Times 27
A Venetian Nobleman: Sagredo
The Experimental School of Medicine in Padua
Public and Private Teaching
Galileo's Geometric and Military Compass
An Unfortunate Trip
4. The Telescope 39
The Sun at the Center of the Universe
News of a Telescope
Galileo Presents His Telescope to the Doge
5. The Universe Through the Telescope 48
New Aspects of the Moon
Jupiter's Satellites
The Phases of Venus
The Aristotelian Universe is Shaken
Galileo and Kepler
6. Florence and Rome 62
Sagredo's Prophecy
Triumph in Rome
The Inquisition
Polemic Writings
The Laws of Nature and the Scriptures
The Decree Against the Copernican Doctrine
The Assayer
7. Galileo and Urban VIII 78
The Dialogue
The Summons to Rome
The Trial
The Sentence
8. Father and Daughter 86
Galileo at Home
Sister Maria Celeste
Death of a Daughter
9. The Last Years 94
Milton's Visit
10. Galileo's Physics 96
The Law of Inertia
More About Falling Bodies
The Motion of Projectiles
Faith in the Laws of Nature
"This Vast and Most Excellent Science"
Appendix The Little Balance and a Note on It 113
Bibliography 122
Index 125
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