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GALILEI, Galileo (1564-1642). Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche, intorno a due nuove scienze attenenti alla mecanica & i movimenti locali. Leiden: Elzevier Press, 1638.
GALILEI, Galileo (1564-1642). Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche, intorno a due nuove scienze attenenti alla mecanica & i movimenti locali. Leiden: Elzevier Press, 1638.
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GALILEI, Galileo (1564-1642). Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche, intorno a due nuove scienze attenenti alla mecanica & i movimenti locali. Leiden: Elzevier Press, 1638.

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GALILEI, Galileo (1564-1642). Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche, intorno a due nuove scienze attenenti alla mecanica & i movimenti locali. Leiden: Elzevier Press, 1638.

First edition of 'the first modern textbook of physics, a foundation stone in the science of mechanics' (Grolier/Horblit). Forbidden to publish in Italy due to his heretical support for heliocentrism, Galileo managed to have a manuscript copy of the present work smuggled out of the country to France, from where it was brought to the Elzeviers in Holland. Like the earlier Dialogo (1632), the Discorsi takes the form of a conversation; its subject matter includes uniform and accelerated motion, parabolic trajectories, the constitution of matter, the nature of mathematics, the role of experiment and reason in science, the weight of air, the nature of sound and the speed of light, among other things. ‘Mathematicians and physicists of the later seventeenth century, Isaac Newton among them, rightly supposed that Galileo had begun a new era in the science of mechanics. It was upon his foundations that Huygens, Newton and others were able to erect the frame of the science of dynamics, and to extend its range (with the concept of universal gravitation) to the heavenly bodies’ (PMM). Dibner, Heralds of Science 141; Grolier/Horblit 36; Norman 859; PMM 130; Wellcome 2648.

Quarto (200 x 141mm). Errata leaf at end, printers' woodcut device on title, numerous woodcut illustrations and diagrams in text, woodcut initials, head- and tailpiece (occasional light spotting). Contemporary reversed calf, gilt ruled (rubbed, small wormholes to lower cover, head of spine defective); modern half morocco folding case. Provenance: inscription on title referring to the Bologna edition of Galileo’s collected works – a few leaves with 18th-century marginalia.
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