Most laymen know Galileo as a scientist whose theories defied those of his contemporaries in the Church. However, relatively few know much about those theories or methodology and the influence of both on modern science. Palmieri (history and philosophy of science, U. of Pittsburgh) provides significant insights into both theory and method, in part by explaining how Galileo was an experimental philosopher and within that context was both systematic and powerful. He explains Galileo's pendulum puzzles and their evolution into experiments in inclined planes and oscillating bodies that led to his discovery of fundamental laws of physics. Working from primary texts and fascinating computer models to replicate Galileo's experiments, Palmieri explains not only the underlying principles but also their connection to, for example, the further work of Baliani and others. The appendices, including an examination of the computer models and a translation of Galileo's notes on his experiments, are particularly interesting.
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Paolo Palmieri is Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. He received his doctorate from the University of London.Review:
"No one has examined in such detail and with such patience how Galileo arrived at his results. Palmieri extends our understanding of what Galileo wanted to achieve and how he went about getting his pioneering results, and his book will be welcomed by everyone interested in the genesis of the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth-century." - Prof. William R. Shea Galileo Professor of History of Science University of Padua, Padova, Italy "Scholars go astray if they interpret Galileo's writings in the light of remembered elementary lessons in physics. Palmieri would have us enter the experimental scene in its complexity, by actual experiment if feasible or by computer simulation where the factors are multiple and numerical integration with variation of parameters is needed to discover what they portend." - Prof. Curtis Wilson St. John's College, Emeritus "A particular strength of this book is the way that it places Galileo in his intellectual context. It is rare to find such detailed study of Galileo's contemporaries or recent predecessors, either those working in similar problems to Galileo or those defending Scholastic views." - Prof. Andrew Gregory Senior Lecturer, History of Science University College, London"
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