Galileo's Muse: Renaissance Mathematics and the Arts by Mark Austin Peterson

By Mark Austin Peterson

Mark Peterson makes a unprecedented declare during this interesting booklet targeted round the lifestyles and regarded Galileo: it was once the maths of Renaissance arts, now not Renaissance sciences, that grew to become glossy technology. Galileo's Muse argues that painters, poets, musicians, and designers led to a systematic revolution that eluded the philosopher-scientists of the day, steeped as they have been in a medieval cosmos and its underlying philosophy.

in accordance with Peterson, the restoration of classical technological know-how owes a lot to the Renaissance artists who first grew to become to Greek assets for notion and guideline. Chapters dedicated to their insights into arithmetic, starting from point of view in portray to tuning in tune, are interspersed with chapters approximately Galileo's personal lifestyles and paintings. Himself an artist became scientist and an avid pupil of Hellenistic tradition, Galileo pulled jointly the numerous threads of his inventive and classical schooling in designing unparalleled experiments to liberate the secrets and techniques of nature.

within the final bankruptcy, Peterson attracts our realization to the Oratio de Mathematicae laudibus of 1627, brought through one in all Galileo's scholars. This record, Peterson argues, was once penned partly by means of Galileo himself, as an expression of his knowing of the universality of arithmetic in artwork and nature. it's "entirely Galilean in such a lot of information that whether it's by-product, it needs to characterize his thought," Peterson writes. An highbrow event, Galileo’s Muse deals striking principles that would catch the mind's eye of anyone—scientist, mathematician, historical past buff, lover of literature, or artist—who cares in regards to the humanistic roots of contemporary science.

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Some very high-­level mathematics from around the time of Plato did not survive. Of Archytas and Eudoxus, we know that they were superb mathematicians, but their work has been lost, surviving, if at all, in the words of others. It is only from the founding of Alexandria and the golden age of Hellenistic mathematics that we have a coherent corpus of material, including a systematic treatment of the earlier Pythagorean results. e. The Pythagorean communities had apparently disappeared by then, but excellent mathematicians immediately appeared in Alexandria, coming not from Athens or any known cultural center but from some other part of the Greek-­speaking world to initiate a golden age of Greek mathematics and mathematical exposition, beginning with the works of Euclid.

He read the proposition. ” So he reads the demonstration of it, which referred him back to such a proposition; which proposition he read. Et sic deinceps that at last he was demonstratively convinced of that truth. 32 Apparently it was possible to be well educated and still not know what Euclidean geometry was. It is noteworthy that Hobbes’s encounter with it was accidental, but, as in Galileo’s case, the love affair was lifelong, taking the form in Hobbes’s case of a fascination with certain notoriously dif­fi­cult prob­lems in geometry like squaring the circle, which he thought he had solved.

The Stoic par­tic­i­pant, Pharnakes, argues that the Moon must be made of some light material like air or fire, since it ­doesn’t fall down to Earth. Oddly, the Aristotelian idea that the Moon is made of a special celestial material, something that naturally stays up and moves in circles, is not represented. Lucian, in arguing that a heavy, Earthlike Moon would not fall down, makes an amazing analogy to a stone whirled in a sling, which also does not fall, “for each thing is governed by its natural motion unless it be diverted by something else,”20 almost a paraphrase of Newton’s laws of motion.

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