Galileo and the Equations of Motion

by Dino Boccaletti
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Dino Boccaletti Galileo and the Equations of Motion
Dino Boccaletti - Galileo and the Equations of Motion

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This book is intended as a historical and critical study on the origin of the equations of motion as established in Newton's Principia. The central question that it aims to answer is whether it is indeed correct to ascribe to Galileo the inertia principle and the law of falling bodies. In order to accomplish this task, the study begins by considering theories on the motion of bodies from classical antiquity, and especially those of Aristotle. The theories developed during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance are then reviewed, with careful analysis of the contributions of, for example, the Merton and Parisian Schools and Galileo’s immediate predecessors, Tartaglia and Benedetti. Finally, Galileo’s work is examined in detail, starting from the early writings. Excerpts from individual works are presented, to allow the texts to speak for themselves, and then commented upon. The book provides historical evidence both for Galileo's dependence on his forerunners and for the major breakthroughs that he achieved. It will satisfy the curiosity of all who wish to know when and why certain laws have been credited to Galileo.


Dino Boccaletti

Further information

Illustrations Note:
XIV, 175 p.
Table of Contents:
Part I The Theories on the Motion of Bodies in the Classical Antiquity.- Kinematics among the Greeks.- Dynamics in the Opinion of Aristotle and his Continuators.- The Theories of Motion in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance.- The first substantial Criticisms to Aristotelian Mechanics – Philoponus and Avempace.- The medieval Kinematics.- Part II A brief Chronology of Galileo’s Life.- The young Galileo and the De Motu.- The Inertia Principle.-The Law of Fall and the Motion of Projectiles.- The Principle of Relativity.
Explains when and why certain laws have been credited to Galileo

Discusses Galileo's dependence on his forerunners

Contextualizes Galileo's texts and explains his kinematic terms in the light of present concepts

Allows the modern reader to read directly from Galileo's texts

Includes supplementary material:

Media Type:
Springer International Publishing
Biography Artist:
Dino Boccaletti was Professor of Celestial Mechanics at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” from 1987 until his retirement, and was previously Professor in the Institution of Mathematics at the university. In addition to his teaching and supervisory responsibilities, Prof. Boccaletti conducted research in the fields of Physics of Elementary Particles, Theoretical Astrophysics, Theory of Gravitational Waves, Stellar Dynamics, Celestial Mechanics, and Mathematical Physics. He has published a number of papers in leading journals, including Nature, Physical Review D, and Astronomy & Astrophysics, and has acted as reviewer for various scientific journals. He is co-author, with G. Pucacco, of the two-volume Springer book Theory of Orbits, which is used for advanced courses in Celestial Mechanics and Stellar Dynamics at universities across the world.

"The purpose of this book is to explain how Galileo gradually transformed from a believer in the Archimedian approach to eventually arrive at the new insights of these laws of motion. Boccaletti carefully analyses the available texts to understand this transformation. This is a study mainly addressing the professional historian." (Adhemar Bultheel, EMS European Mathematical Society,, November, 2015)

1st ed. 2016
Number of Pages:

Master Data

Product Type:
Hardback book
Release date:
28 August 2015
Package Dimensions:
0.232 x 0.167 x 0.028 m; 0.717 kg
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