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Galileo UnboundA Path Across Life, the Universe and Everything$
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David D. Nolte

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198805847

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198805847.001.0001

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Galileo’s Trajectory

Galileo’s Trajectory

(p.39) Chapter 3 Galileo’s Trajectory
Galileo Unbound

David D. Nolte

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the history of Galileo’s discovery of the law of fall and the parabolic trajectory, beginning with early work on the physics of motion by predecessors like the Oxford Scholars, Tartaglia and the polymath Simon Stevin who dropped lead weights from the leaning tower of Delft three years before Galileo dropped lead weights from the leaning tower of Pisa. The story of how Galileo developed his ideas of motion is described in the context of his studies of balls rolling on inclined plane and the surprising accuracy he achieved without access to modern timekeeping. Motion was always on Galileo’s mind. He saw motion in his father’s stringed instruments, vibrating in rational resonances. He saw motion in the lantern high above in the Duomo di Pisa, swinging with fixed regularity.

Keywords:   history of physics, motion, Oxford scholars, Galileo, Tartaglia, Simon Stevin, inclined plane, parabolic trajectory, free fall

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