Archive for History of Exact Sciences

, Volume 68, Issue 2, pp 121–136 | Cite as

Galileo’s quanti: understanding infinitesimal magnitudes

  • Tiziana BascelliEmail author


In On Local Motion in the Two New Sciences, Galileo distinguishes between ‘time’ and ‘quanto time’ to justify why a variation in speed has the same properties as an interval of time. In this essay, I trace the occurrences of the word quanto to define its role and specific meaning. The analysis shows that quanto is essential to Galileo’s mathematical study of infinitesimal quantities and that it is technically defined. In the light of this interpretation of the word quanto, Evangelista Torricelli’s theory of indivisibles can be regarded as a natural development of Galileo’s insights about infinitesimal magnitudes, transformed into a geometrical method for calculating the area of unlimited plane figures.


Infinite Number Geometrical Object Plane Figure Quanti Void Quante Part 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Montecchio (VI)Italy

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