Gears pp 57-130 | Cite as

The Second Pre-scientific Age: From the Diaspora of Alexandrian Scientists to the Renaissance

  • Vincenzo VulloEmail author
Part of the Springer Series in Solid and Structural Mechanics book series (SSSSM, volume 12)


The stagnation in the development of gears in the second pre-scientific age, which includes the long period between the diaspora of the scientists of the Museum of Alexandria and the Renaissance, is described. It is shown that the so-called rebirths before the Renaissance (four in all) are actually pseudo-rebirths, given the absence of noteworthy contributions, because the scientific method had been irretrievably lost. As far as gears are concerned, the return to the methods of the first pre-scientific age is demonstrated. However, the small and not very significant steps forward, resulting from the refinement of field experiences, are highlighted. In this framework, the appreciable empirical contributions in the field of clocks, due to good craftsmen-clockmakers, are described. A particular attention is dedicated to the Renaissance, in which the pre-scientific man has difficulty in dying and the scientific man has difficulty in being born. The most significant contributions of the most representative figures of the Renaissance, concerning gears, are analyzed and described. Particular attention is given to the figure par excellence of the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci, an immense genius for vastness of horizons and depth of thought. His uncommon capacity for innovation in the field of gears is brought to light, and his numerous and incomparable contributions are described in detail, including those concerning pure and applied science, which make Leonardo a figure that transcends his time and projects it into the next age of scientific awakening.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Rome “Tor Vergata”RomeItaly

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