One Hundred Years of Pressure

Hydrostatics from Stevin to Newton

  • Alan F. Chalmers

Part of the Archimedes book series (ARIM, volume 51)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Alan F. Chalmers
    Pages 49-57
  3. Alan F. Chalmers
    Pages 59-82
  4. Alan F. Chalmers
    Pages 83-98
  5. Alan F. Chalmers
    Pages 99-109
  6. Alan F. Chalmers
    Pages 111-133
  7. Alan F. Chalmers
    Pages 135-160
  8. Alan F. Chalmers
    Pages 173-186
  9. Alan F. Chalmers
    Pages 187-191
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 193-197

About this book

Introduction

This monograph investigates the development of hydrostatics as a science. In the process, it sheds new light on the nature of science and its origins in the Scientific Revolution. Readers will come to see that the history of hydrostatics reveals subtle ways in which the science of the seventeenth century differed from previous periods.

The key, the author argues, is the new insights into the concept of pressure that emerged during the Scientific Revolution. This came about due to contributions from such figures as Simon Stevin, Pascal, Boyle and Newton. The author compares their work with Galileo and Descartes, neither of whom grasped the need for a new conception of pressure. As a result, their contributions to hydrostatics were unproductive.

The story ends with Newton insofar as his version of hydrostatics set the subject on its modern course. He articulated a technical notion of pressure that was up to the task. Newton compared the mathematical way in hydrostatics and the experimental way, and sided with the former. The subtleties that lie behind Newton's position throws light on the way in which developments in seventeenth-century science simultaneously involved mathematization and experimentation.

This book serves as an example of the degree of conceptual change that new sciences often require. It will be of interest to those involved in the study of history and philosophy of science. It will also appeal to physicists as well as interested general readers.

Keywords

History of hydrostatics Emergence of the concept of pressure Conceptual change in science Mechanism in the seventeenth century Experimental philosophy The mathematization of science equilibrium of liquids Scientific Revolution emergence of hydrostatics science of the seventeenth century

Authors and affiliations

  • Alan F. Chalmers
    • 1
  1. 1.Unit for History and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

Bibliographic information

  • DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-56529-3
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG 2017
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Physics and Astronomy
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-56528-6
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-56529-3
  • Series Print ISSN 1385-0180
  • Series Online ISSN 2215-0064
  • About this book