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date: 09 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines Galileo’s ideas about the mechanics of natural motion and projectiles. Among the subjects in mechanics considered by Galileo, the most important are ‘natural motion’, the descent of falling bodies including on inclined planes, and the motion of projectiles under an impressed force. He also considered, and made contributions to, the resistance of solid bodies to fracture and the hydrostatics of floating bodies. What is often called ‘Platonism’ in Galileo, his appeal to mathematics and idealized conditions, is in fact the abstract mathematical analysis of mechanics. This article considers Galileo’s research and writing on falling bodies and projectiles, including his early treatise De motu, the Dialogue on the Two Great Systems of the World, the manuscript Firenze Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Galileo Ms. 72, and the Discourses and Mathematical Demonstrations concerning Two New Sciences.

Keywords: Galileo, mechanics, natural motion, projectiles, falling bodies, hydrostatics, floating bodies, mathematics, De motu, manuscript

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