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Physics

Physics

 

Exhibit items on the subject of physics.

Exhibit Items

Galileo Telescope replica ( )

The optics, leather and gold tooling of the telescope suggest how scientific instruments were crafted with a combination of engineering expertise and bookbinding arts. Galileo’s telescope included two lenses, an ocular lens near the eye, and an objective lens at the far end of the tube.

Elements of Geometry, 1570  Euclid,  (1570)

Euclid was the starting point for any further study of optics and perspective. Optics combined geometry, experiment, vision and art. In the presentation of the geometrical solids, this copy retains the original pop-ups.

Treasury of Optics  al-Haytham, Ibn (1572)

The frontispiece depicts a variety of optical phenomena: Reflection. Refraction. Perspective. The rainbow. Burning mirrors.

Works… A New Science  Tartaglia, Niccolo (1606)

Niccolò Tartaglia argued for the use of mathematics in physics, engineering and art. Tartaglia’s frontispiece shows Euclid guarding the gate of knowledge. Just inside, Perspectiva stands among the sciences that open the way to Philosophia.

The Great Art of Light and Shadow  Kircher, Athanasius (1646)

A “camera obscura” (“dark room”) consists of a box or container in which light enters via a small hole and projects an image on an opposite wall. The image will be reversed and upside-down, but its proportions will be preserved.

Celestial Atlas, 1729  Flamsteed, John (1729)

A globe maker for the French royal family, J. Fortin, prepared this edition of Flamsteed’s celestial atlas in a much reduced format. Flamsteed was the first Astronomer Royal, who oversaw the building of the Greenwich Observatory. Newton relied upon Flamsteed’s star positions in his Principia.

1 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, 1729  Newton, Isaac (1729)

This is the first English translation of Newton’s masterwork in physics. The Copernican idea that the Earth moves as a planet required a thorough revision of physics. Galileo undertook this task in his Discourse on Two New Sciences, published 80 years after Copernicus.

1 Discourse on Two New Sciences  Galileo,   (1638)

Under house arrest after his trial, Galileo turned his attention to a number of topics that had long interested him. This is his masterwork of physics, the last book of Galileo’s to be published in his lifetime. These two sciences concern tensile strength and motion.

1 The Divine Plato  Plato,  (1491)

In his dialog entitled The Timaeus, Plato taught that the cosmos is constructed from regular geometrical figures known as the Pythagorean solids. Wherever one finds an emphasis upon mathematical demonstrations in science, one may credit Plato and the Pythagoreans.

1 Elements of Geometry, 1482  Euclid,  (1482)

Euclid was the starting point for a mathematical approach to physics. This is the 1st printed edition. The beautiful woodcuts are hand-colored in this copy. The text of the first page was printed in both black and red ink. The geometrical diagrams were quite difficult to prepare.

1 The Book on Air  Hero of Alexandria,  (1575)

Once an altar is lighted, the temple doors open automatically. Hero fashioned all sorts of marvelous automata using steam, air pressure, hydraulics and falling weights. Devices included an automatic wine dispenser, siphons, garden fountains, engines, pumps, steam-powered toys, and magic tricks...

1 On the Art of Fire  Biringuccio, Vannoccio (1540)

When Galileo needed to purchase plates of brass to make his engineering compass or commissioned glass to make better lenses, metalsmith, assayers and craftsmen in Venice employed operations similar to those described in Birunguccio’s metallurgical manual.

2 Discourse on Floating Bodies  Galileo,  (1612)

To provide entertainment at a dinner held by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Galileo debated the Aristotelian physicist Lodovico delle Columbe on the topic of floating bodies. Galileo employed Archimedes’ mathematical analysis.

2 A Treatise of the System of the World  Newton, Isaac (1728)

Newton’s mathematical physics established an understanding of the dynamics of the solar system.

2 Natural Magic, 1589  Porta, Giambattista della (1589)

In this poster-sized work, the first publication of observations made with a microscope, Cesi and Stelluti studied the anatomy of the bee. The text includes classical references to bees as well as new knowledge, integrated in a tabular outline.

2 Wonderful Machines of the Far West  Schreck, Johann (1830)

Schreck helped Galileo show the telescope to the Medici family and others in Rome. Once he arrived in China, he wrote this work on engineering in Chinese.

2 Works in Greek, vol. 1  Aristotle,  (1495-1498)

In a work entitled “On the Universe,” Aristotle argued that a 5th element, called ether or the quintessence, composes the celestial spheres that naturally rotate in place above the region where the four lower elements mix together beneath the Moon.

2 Euclid's Elements of Geometry, 1594  Al-Tusi, Nasir ad-Din (1594)

This Arabic text of Euclid came from the circle of the Persian astronomer al-Tusi (13th century). Al-Tusi worked in Baghdad and in the observatory of Maragha, in modern northwestern Iran. Printing Arabic with moveable type was a technological challenge.

3 Natural Magick, 1658  Porta, Giambattista della (1658)

In Natural Magick, della Porta described an optical tube he designed to make far things appear as though they were near. The field of optics was often associated with magical tricks and illusions, and for that reason sometimes held suspect among non-mathematicians.

3 On the Motion of Animals, 1685  Borelli, Giovanni (1685)

This work of sports medicine analyzes the physics of bones and muscles. Borelli, a practicing mathematician and engineer as well as a physician, analyzed the musculoskeletal system in terms of the mechanics of the lever and other simple machines.

3 Works in Greek, vol. 2  Aristotle,  (1495-1498)

In a work entitled “On the Universe,” Aristotle argued that a 5th element, called ether or the quintessence, composes the celestial spheres that naturally rotate in place above the region where the four lower elements mix together beneath the Moon.

3 On Pneumatics  Porta, Giambattista della (1606)

Della Porta explored various ideas for steam powered machines following the example of Hero of Alexandria. In antiquity, Hero fashioned marvelous automata using steam, air pressure, and hydraulics.

3 Considerations on Galileo's Discourse on Floating Bodies  Pannochieschi, Arturo (1612)

Pannochieschi, head of the University of Pisa, defended Columbe, widening the debate over floating bodies and exemplifying the Aristotelian physicists’ reaction to Galileo’s use of Archimedean methods. In response, Galileo published a 2d ed.

3 Euclide  Tartaglia, Niccolo (1543)

Tartaglia, a teacher of a teacher of Galileo, produced the first vernacular translation of Euclid’s Elements of Geometry.

4 Various and Ingenious Machines  Ramelli, Agostino (1588)

The ancient philosopher Hero described mechanics as the science of five simple machines: the lever, pulley, wheel, wedge and screw. These simple machines are combined in the complex inventions of Ramelli.

4 Considerations on Tasso  Galileo,  (1793)

Galileo employed his scientific acumen to engage in the literary debates of the day. Here he considered the merits of Tasso and Ariosto, comparing both with Dante. Using his new physics of tensile strength, Galileo refuted Ariosto’s indiscriminate descriptions of giants.

4 Works in Greek, vol 3 pt. A  Aristotle,  (1495-1498)

In a work entitled “On the Universe,” Aristotle argued that a 5th element, called ether or the quintessence, composes the celestial spheres that naturally rotate in place above the region where the four lower elements mix together beneath the Moon.

4 Optics of Lenses  Kepler, Johann (1611)

Kepler wrote an earlier work on optics (1604) as a supplement to the medieval treatise of Witelo. In this sequel, he clarified the optics of refractive lenses and greatly advanced understanding of how the telescope actually works. The annotations in this copy are unstudied.

4 Response to the Opposition of Lodovico delle Colombe  Galileo,  (1615)

Some of Galileo’s most avid opponents were Aristotelian physicists who, lacking training in mathematics, were unable to refute Galileo’s arguments.

4 Euclid's Elements of Geometry, 1589, vol. 1  Clavius, Christoph (1589)

Not all versions of Euclid’s Elements were created equal. Clavius prepared this edition for his students at the Rome College (Collegio Romano). If these editions of Euclid were used in different courses, which course would you take?

5 Galileo Thermoscope replica, National Weather Center

Galileo’s thermoscope, ancestor to the thermometer: Galileo pioneered scientific investigations with the thermoscope along with his two Paduan friends, Giovanni Sagredo and Santorio Santorio.

5 Discourse on Two New Sciences, vol. 1  Galileo,  (1656)

In this masterwork of physics, Galileo studied the two sciences of tensile strength and motion. The science of tensile strength considers how larger objects must bear more and more weight to perform the same action.

5 Works in Greek, vol 3 pt. B  Aristotle,  (1495-1498)

In a work entitled “On the Universe,” Aristotle argued that a 5th element, called ether or the quintessence, composes the celestial spheres that naturally rotate in place above the region where the four lower elements mix together beneath the Moon.

5 Phosphorescent Rock, or, On the Light of the Bolognese Stone  Liceti, Fortunio (1640)

Galileo studied the “Stone of Bologna” or “solar sponge,” produced by alchemists from calcining spar (barium sulfide), which glows in the dark. Galileo inferred from its cool luminescence that light is not the same as heat, but a distinct entity, contra Aristotle.

5 On Fortifications  Lorini, Buonaiuto (1597)

Drawing upon Archimedes, Lorini asserted that all machines of the fortress could be reduced to the balance and thus to the lever. From his home in Padua, Galileo taught a private course on fortifications from about 1592 to 1609.

5 Euclid's Elements of Geometry, 1589, vol. 2  Clavius, Christoph (1589)

Not all versions of Euclid’s Elements were created equal. Clavius prepared this edition for his students at the Rome College (Collegio Romano). If these editions of Euclid were used in different courses, which course would you take?

6 Discourse on Two New Sciences, vol. 2  Galileo,  (1656)

In this masterwork of physics, Galileo studied the two sciences of tensile strength and motion. The science of tensile strength considers how larger objects must bear more and more weight to perform the same action.

6 Galileo Thermoscope replica, Bizzell Memorial Library

Galileo’s thermoscope, ancestor to the thermometer: Galileo pioneered scientific investigations with the thermoscope along with his two Paduan friends, Giovanni Sagredo and Santorio Santorio.

6 The Assayer, early state  Galileo ,   (1623)

The crest of the Barberini family, showing three busy bees, appears at the top of the frontispiece. Galileo’s supporter, Cardinal Maffeo Barberini, had become Pope Urban VIII. The election of Barberini seemed to assure Galileo of support at the highest level in the Church.

6 Essays on Natural Experiences, 1666  Accademia del Cimento,  (1666)

The Academy of the Lynx (Accademia dei Lincei) dissolved after the death of its founder, Prince Federigo Cesi. In its place, Grand Duke Ferdinand II established the Academy of Experiment in Florence, which carried further the research program of Galileo.

6 Problems and Exercises in Aristotle’s Mechanics  Baldi, Bernardino (1621)

Aristotle’s Mechanics contained an analysis of the principles of motion and simple machines. While no longer accepted as an authentic work by Aristotle, its influence among Renaissance scientist-engineers was profound, as illustrated in this commentary by Baldi.

6 New Theater of Machines  Zonca, Vittorio (1621)

This “theater of machines” parades 40 different machines for any kind of purpose, whether a lock on a river, a book press or engraving press, or a device to prevent smoke from filling a room.Unlike the writings of Lorini and Galileo, which included theoretical investigations on the principles of...

6 Works in Greek, vol. 4  Aristotle,  (1495-1498)

In a work entitled “On the Universe,” Aristotle argued that a 5th element, called ether or the quintessence, composes the celestial spheres that naturally rotate in place above the region where the four lower elements mix together beneath the Moon.

7 The Assayer, later state  Galileo ,   (1623)

Although Galileo eloquently championed mathematical methods in science, the main target of his wit and sarcasm in The Assayer was Grassi, a fellow astronomer, whose mathematical methods proved that comets move above the Moon.

7 On the Sizes and Distances of the Sun and Moon  Samos, Aristarchus of (1572)

Aristarchus, the Copernicus of antiquity, proposed in the 3rd century B.C.E. that the Sun lies at the center of the universe and that the Earth and other planets revolve around the Sun.

7 Essays on Natural Experiences, 1667  Accademia del Cimento,  (1667)

The Academy transformed the thermoscope into the thermometer by adding a graduated scale (which had been done by Galileo and his friends) and by sealing the tube to make it independent of air pressure.

7 The Realm of the Nebulae  Hubble, Edwin (1936)

Hubble’s investigations with the 100-inch Hooker Telescope at Mount Wilson observatory, overlooking Los Angeles, California, led to a dramatic expansion of the universe. For Hubble, the universe is not limited to the Milky Way galaxy.

7 Dialogue on the Two Chief Systems of the World  Galileo,  (1632)

Featuring Galileo's Handwriting. This is Galileo’s witty and entertaining dialogue in defense of Copernicus. In the frontispiece, Aristotle and Ptolemy hold an Earth-centered armillary sphere (left). Copernicus holds a Sun-centered model of the universe (right).

7 Works, Archimedes  Archimedes,  (1543)

Archimedes (d. 212 B.C.) developed the law of the lever with his Treatise on the Balance. He contributed to arithmetic by devising methods for expressing extremely large numbers. He deduced many new geometrical theorems on spheres, cylinders, circles and spirals.

7 New Science  Tartaglia, Niccolo (1558)

Tartaglia’s compass (also known as a “sector”) incorporated the functions of a quadrant and a caliper measuring device. His “new science” investigated the ballistics of cannonballs, laying a foundation for Galileo’s studies of projectile motion and free fall.

7 Works in Greek, vol. 5  Aristotle,  (1495-1498)

In a work entitled “On the Universe,” Aristotle argued that a 5th element, called ether or the quintessence, composes the celestial spheres that naturally rotate in place above the region where the four lower elements mix together beneath the Moon.

8 Treatise on the Sphere  Grassi, Oratio (1623)

In the same year that Galileo published The Assayer, Grassi delivered these lectures to Jesuit students in the Rome College (Collegio Romano).

8 Essays on Natural Experiences, 1701  Accademia del Cimento,  (1701)

The Academy crafted a hygrometer to measure humidity in the air. They improved the barometer, and conducted many experiments with air pressure. The Academy also experimented with light and phosphorescence, radiant heat, the velocity of sound and many other topics.

8 On the Sphere, 1511  Proclus,  (1511)

This work was attributed to Proclus (5th century), one of the most important Neoplatonic philosophers of late antiquity. It became one of the most popular introductions to astronomy during the Italian Renaissance, appearing in more than 70 16th-century editions.

8 On Conic Sections  Apollonius,  (1710)

Apollonius (3rd century B.C.E.) examined the properties of conic sections; namely, the: • circle (cuts a cone horizontally, perpendicularly to the axis of the cone) • ellipse (cuts a cone to make a closed curve) • parabola (cuts a cone parallel to a side of the cone) • hyperbola (cuts a cone in...

9 Galileo Thermoscope replica, Bird Health Sciences Library

Galileo’s thermoscope, developed in the context of pneumatic engineering, was an ancestor to the thermometer. Galileo pioneered scientific investigations with the thermoscope along with his two Paduan friends, Giovanni Sagredo and Santorio Santorio.

9 The Burning Mirror  Cavalieri, Bonaventura (1632)

Archimedes died defending the ancient city of Syracuse, on the island of Sicily, from the Carthaginian navy. Reports attributed the defense of the city to his ingenuity, including giant mirrors capable of setting attacking ships in the harbor on fire.

9 Commentary on Al-Qabisi  Al-Qabisi,  (1512)

This medieval introduction to astrology was frequently translated from Arabic into Latin. Al-Qabisi lived in the 10th century in Syria.

9 The Spectacle according to the Eye: Practical Optics  Manzini, Carlo Antonio (1660)

Galileo designed this lens grinding machine in 1639, when he was 75 years old. Galileo began grinding his own lenses as early as 1609.

10 On the Motion of Animals, 1680 - 81  Borelli, Giovanni (1680-81)

The physics of bones and muscles: Borelli, a practicing mathematician and engineer as well as a physician, analyzed the musculoskeletal system in terms of the mechanics of the lever and other simple machines. Borelli studied under Galileo’s student Castelli, along with Torricelli.

10 On the Sphere of the Universe  bar Hiyya, Abraham (1546)

Abraham bar Hiyya, also known as Savasorda, was a 12th century Jewish mathematician and astronomer in Barcelona. In this beautiful introduction to astronomy, bar Hiyya’s text appears in Hebrew alongside a Latin translation.

10 Commentary on Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics  Philoponus,  (1504)

In the 6th century, the Greek physicist and theologian Philoponus constructed an anti-Aristotelian theory of motion. For Philoponus, an “impressed incorporeal motive force” explains the motion of a top, a projectile, and falling bodies.

10 Curious Technology  Schott, Gaspar (1664)

Schott was among the first to report the “Miracle of Magdeburg,” the sensational story of Otto von Guericke’s public demonstration of the reality of the vacuum. Von Guericke bolted two large hemispheres together, then evacuated the air inside them with his air pump.

11 Mathematical Works  Stevin, Simon (1634)

Stevin’s work represents that of a scientist-engineer in the Low Countries, whose major works appeared in Dutch. Like the scientist-engineers of Italy, Stevin maintained water systems and improved fortifications. He investigated the mechanics of motion, falling bodies and hydraulics.

11 New Experiments  von Guericke, Otto (1672)

In this work, von Guericke explained the design of his air pump and recounted additional experiments conducted with it. He employed the barometer to forecast the weather, and invented an electrostatic generator.

11 On the Sphere  Sacro Bosco, Joannes de (1490)

In University study from the 13th through 16th centuries, the most common introduction to the geocentric cosmos was the medieval work, On the Sphere, by Sacrobosco.

12 On the Center of Gravity of Solids, 1661  Valerio, Luca (1661)

Analyzing the center of gravity of an object was a traditional problem addressed using the methods of Archimedes. Galileo referred to Valerio as “the Archimedes of our age” and recommended him for membership in the Academy of the Lynx.

12 New Experiments Physico-Mechanicall, Touching the Spring of the Air  Boyle, Robert (1660)

Boyle, who heard of von Guericke’s experiments via Schott, retained Robert Hooke to construct a similar air pump for him. Boyle’s experiments supported his “corpuscular” view of matter, that air is comprised of particles in motion.

12 Cosmography, 1585  Barozzi, Francesco (1585)

The illustrations in this cosmography show its indebtedness to the Sacrobosco tradition. Barozzi, a humanist scholar and mathematics professor at the University of Padua, provided an updated introduction to observational astronomy, intended as a replacement for Sacrobosco and Peurbach.

13 On the Magnet  Gilbert, William (1600)

Gilbert, a physician to Queen Elisabeth I, wrote the first experimental treatise devoted to magnetism. Gilbert discerned analogies between the Earth and magnets, and reasoned that the Earth itself is a magnet.

13 On Perspective  Monte, Guidobaldo del (1600)

Kepler, Galileo and Guidobaldo were the leading optical theorists of their generation. Galileo studied with Guidobaldo while he was composing this treatise.

13 Opticks  Newton, Isaac (1704)

Newton’s contemporaries may have first heard of him through articles in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. There he reported his experiments with prisms on the nature of light and color in the atmosphere.

14 On Mechanics  Monte, Guidobaldo del (1577)

Hero described five simple machines: the lever, pulley, wheel, wedge and screw. In this theoretical investigation of the foundations of mechanics, Guidobaldo demonstrated that all five machines could be deduced from the principle of the lever.

14 Principles of Philosophy  Déscartes, René (1644)

In Descartes’ cosmology, each star lies at the center of a “vortex,” or gigantic pool of circulating fluid. Stars and vortices are mortal, passing into and out of existence.

14 On the Equations of the Relative Movement of Systems of Bodies  Coriolis, Gaspard-Gustave de  (1835)

Coriolis explicitly analyzed rotating systems such as a waterwheel, but his conclusions apply to the atmosphere and the rotation of the Earth. Galileo’s principle of the relativity of motion depends upon an analogy between the Earth sailing through space and a ship at sea.

15 Galileo, Mechanics  Marsenne, Marin (1634)

As a young scientist-engineer, Galileo wrote two manuscripts on motion. The first, Delle macchine, written ca. 1592; reflected the tradition of Aristotle’s Mechanics. It was never printed. The second, revised study, Le mechaniche, written ca.

15 Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds  Fontenelle,  (1728)

In this dramatic and entertaining dialogue, Fontenelle explained Cartesian philosophy and cosmology and argued for the existence of life on other worlds. He justified a popular writing style by encouraging women and men to engage in pleasant evening conversation together on scientific topics.

15 The Origin of Continents and Oceans  Wegener, Alfred (1924)

This page reflects Wegener’s interest in temperature fluctuations and patterns of glaciation. The theory of continental drift developed from Wegener’s researches in Greenland as a meteorologist with an interest in polar climate.

16 Mathematical Discourses  Galileo ,   (1730)

This is the first separate English edition of Galileo’s Discourse on Two New Sciences, his masterwork in mathematical physics. The “two new sciences” are tensile strength and motion.

16 The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended  Newton, Isaac (1728)

Newton believed that Solomon’s Temple encoded his inverse square law for universal gravitation. To Newton, his grandest achievement was merely a rediscovery of the treasures of ancient wisdom.

16 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, 1687  Newton, Isaac (1687)

The Copernican idea that the Earth moves as a planet required a thorough revision of physics. Galileo undertook this task in his Discourse on Two New Sciences, published 80 years after Copernicus.

17 Newtonianism for Women  Algarotti, Francesco (1737)

Algarotti’s popular introduction to Newtonian science went through many editions and aided in the dissemination of Newtonian ideas on the European continent. It was dedicated to Fontenelle. Like Fontenelle’s Plurality of Worlds, it was written as an entertaining dialogue.

18 Book of the Arrow  Nobutoyo,  (ca. 1846)

Galileo’s mechanics demonstrated that projectiles follow a parabolic path. This is true whether the projectile is a cannonball, an arrow or a football. This set of four Japanese Samurai manuscripts, drawn on rice paper in the mid 1800’s, was copied by hand from mid-16th-century sources.

18 An Account of a New Discovered Motion of the Fix’d Stars  Bradley, James (1729)

Direct observational proof of the motion of the Earth remained difficult to find, even as late as the generation of Isaac Newton.

19 On the Proper Motion of Fixed Stars  Bessel, Wilhelm

Scientific theories may be accepted on the basis of a weighing of many complex factors rather than a single determinative observation or crucial experiment. From antiquity, Copernicanism had been rejected due to a failure to observe stellar parallax.

19 Book of Leggings  Nobutoyo,  (ca. 1846)

Galileo’s mechanics demonstrated that projectiles follow a parabolic path. This is true whether the projectile is a cannonball, an arrow or a football. This set of four Japanese Samurai manuscripts, drawn on rice paper in the mid 1800’s, was copied by hand from mid-16th-century sources.

20 Physical Demonstration of the Rotational Movement of the Earth  Foucault, Léon (1851)

The Foucault pendulum swings in a constant plane or direction, and thus reveals the rotation of the Earth turning underneath.

20 Secret Book of Hunger for the Target  Ise, Heizo Sadatake (ca. 1846)

Galileo’s mechanics demonstrated that projectiles follow a parabolic path. This is true whether the projectile is a cannonball, an arrow or a football. This set of four Japanese Samurai manuscripts, drawn on rice paper in the mid 1800’s, was copied by hand from mid-16th-century sources.

21 Physical Demonstration of the Rotational Movement of the Earth  Foucault, Léon (1851)

The Foucault pendulum swings in a constant plane or direction, and thus reveals the rotation of the Earth turning underneath.

22 The Centenary of General Relativity, misc. items  Einstein, Albert (1915-2015)

The 2015-2016 year is the centenary of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Einstein attributed the formulation of the principle of the relativity of motion to Galileo.