Early Modern Studies on Motion
This chapter concerns the period around the mid-XVI century to the mid-XVII century when the science of motion begins to take shape as a physical mathematical science. The protagonists are Kepler, Galileo, Descartes. With respect to Johannes Kepler I mention physical and mechanical conceptions of the solar system. I then take a more detailed study of Galileo Galilei’s contribution, where the early and mature writings are examined. A nod follows to the role of Evangelista Torricelli, who used the theory of impetus with introduction of the method of indivisibles to explain the law of falling bodies. Then there is a fairly detailed analysis of the study of the fall of heavy bodies by Giovanni Battista Baliani. On Descartes, after a hint to his conceptions of natural philosophy, I present a contribution on a narrow, albeit important topic: the swings of the composite pendulum. The chapter ends with a discussion of the so-called second Galileo affair, or the criticisms to his laws of motion by scientists close to the Jesuits.