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A HISTORY OF FREE FALL
ARISTOTLE TO GALILEO
With an Epilogue on Pi in the Sky
Stillman Drake

Before Isaac Newton could articulate a law of gravity that would make a unified physics of heaven and earth possible, a precise mathematical description of the motion of falling bodies had to be discovered and demonstrated. This work was completed by Galileo a few years before Newton was born, and demonstrated in him monumental Two New Sciences. But the times-squared law that Galileo announced could have been discovered centuries before by any careful observer of the motion of heavy bodies. How it is that this rather simple and elegant numerical description of the motion of falling bodies evaded all the best minds from the time of Aristotle to Galileo's contemporaries is the subject of Stillman Drake's short monograph. Drake shows how both philosophical and mathematical considerations led centuries of natural philosophers away from careful observations and the correct formulation. This is a monograph that will be cited by historians of science for years to come.




ISBN 0-921332-26-2
Paperback, 106 pages
Published in 1989.
$19.50 (Cdn), $16.50 (US)




The late Stillman Drake was Professor of the History of Science at the University of Toronto and the recognized world authority on the life and work of Galileo. He was awarded the 1988 Sarton Medal of the History of Science Society.


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