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3 - Galileo and the Nature of the Physical Sciences

from Case Study I - The Origins of Newton’s Laws of Motion and of Gravity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 March 2020

Malcolm S. Longair
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
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Summary

Galileo's brilliant experiments laid the foundations for the development of Newton's laws of motion. His experimental skill led to the derivation the law of acceleration as well as constructing the best telescopes for terrestrial and astronomical observations. His observations of the satellites of Jupiter provided an analogue for the motions of the planets about the Sun. His advocacy of the Copernican system of the world led to his trial and condemnation for heresy. His great realisation, the foundation of modern scientific enquiry, was that the laws of physics can be expressed in mathematical form.

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Theoretical Concepts in Physics
An Alternative View of Theoretical Reasoning in Physics
, pp. 29 - 47
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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