Advertisement

Simon Stevin and the Rise of Archimedean Mechanics in the Renaissance

  • Teun Koetsier
Conference paper
Part of the History of Mechanism and Machine Science book series (HMMS, volume 11)

Abstract

In this paper I will discuss the position of the Flemish mathematician and engineer Simon Stevin (1546–1620) in the rise of Archimedean mechanics in the Renaissance. Commandino represents the beginning of the Archimedean Renaissance in statics. The next steps were made by Guidobaldo Del Monte and Stevin. Del Monte and Stevin were contemporaries belonging to the generation preceding Galilei (1564–1642). Yet Stevin’s work in mechanics is superior to Del Monte’s. I will discuss the way in which Stevin’s mechanical work, like Del Monte’s, was influenced by the medieval science of weights. For example, the central notion “stalwicht” in Stevin’s work, translated as “apparent weight’ by the editors of Stevin’s Works, clearly corresponds to the notion of positional weight (ponderis secundum situm) in the science of weights. I will also argue that while Del Monte remained caught in the conceptual framework of the science of weights the use of the Dutch language helped Stevin in liberating himself from those ideas. For Stevin the use of Dutch was part of his success. Finally I will discuss Stevin’s work on windmills. Not only his original theoretical contributions to statics and hydrostatics but also the unity of theory and practice in Stevin’s work make him in mechanics the first true successor of Archimedes in the Renaissance.

Keywords

Positional Weight Incline Plane Dutch Language Gear Train Gear Wheel 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. 1.
  2. 2.
    Clagett, Marshall: Archimedes in the Middle Ages, Volume 3, The fate of the medieval Archimedes 1300-1565, Part III: The Medieval Archimedes in the Renaissance, 1450-1565, American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, 1978.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Commandino, Federigo: Liber de centro gravitatis solidorum, 1565. For a digitizedversion see: http://archimedes.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/cgi-bin/toc/toc.cgi?step=thumb&dir=comma_centr_023_la_1565.
  4. 4.
    Del Monte, Guido Ubaldo: Mechanicorum liber, 1577.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Del Monte, Guido Ubaldo: Le Mechaniche[...] tradotte in volgare dal Sig. FilippoPigafetta, Venetia, 1581.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Moody, Ernest A. & Clagett, Marshall, The Medieval Science of Weights (Scientia ponderibus), Treatises ascribed to Euclid, Archimedes, Thabit ibn Qura, Jordanus de Nemore and Blasius of Parma, Madison, 1960.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Drake, Stillman & Drabkin, I. E.: Mechanics in Sixteenth Century Italy, The University of Wisconsin Press, 1969.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Duhem, Pierre: Les origines de la statique, Paris, 1905-1906.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Koetsier, Teun: La théorie des machines au XVIe siècle: Niccolo Tartaglia, Guidobaldo del Monte, Galileo Galilei, Corpus 39, 2001, 155-189.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Krafft, Fritz: Dynamische und Statische Betrachtungsweise in der Antiken Mechanik, Wiesbaden, 1970.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Palmieri, Paolo: Breaking the Circle, the Emergence of Archimedean Mechanics inthe Late Renaissance, Archive for History of Exact Sciences 62, 2008, pp. 301-346.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
  13. 13.
    Van Dyck, Maarten, Gravitating towards stability: Guidobaldo’s Aristotelian-Archimedean Synthesis, History of Science 44, 2006, pp. 373-407.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
  15. 15.
    Stevin, Simon: The Principal Works of Simon Stevin, Volume I, GeneralIntroduction, Mechanics (edited by Dijksterhuis, E.J.), Amsterdam, 1955.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Stevin, Simon: The Principal Works of Simon Stevin, Volume V, Engineering, Music,Civic Life (edited by Forbes, R.J., Fokker, A.D., Romein-Verschoor, A.), Amsterdam,1966.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Terwen, J. L.: Etymologisch Handwoorden boek der Nederduitsche Taal, 1844.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Van Dyck, Maarten: Causality and conservation. Elements of the new metaphysicsbehind the mathematization of nature in the seventeenth century. Preprint: http://logica.ugent.be/maarten/BrusselStructure.pdf.
  19. 19.
    Dijksterhuis, E. J., Simon Stevin, Science in the Netherlands around 1600, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, 1970.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Girard, Albert, Les œuvres mathematiques de Simon Stevin de Bruges. Ou sontinserées les memoires mathematiques, esquelles s’est exercé le tres-haut & tres-illustre prince Maurice de Nassau, Leyde, 1634.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Henninger-Voss, Mary, Working Machines and Noble Mechanics: Guidobaldo del Monte and the Translation of Knowledge. Isis, 2000, 91, No. 2: 232-259.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematics, Faculty of ScienceVrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations