A History of Science, Technology, and Philosophy in the 16th by A. Wolf, F. Dannemann, A. Armitage, Douglas McKie

By A. Wolf, F. Dannemann, A. Armitage, Douglas McKie

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His devotion to science remained unabated. But henceforth he confined himself to investigations which were not likely to bring him into conflict with the Church. His most important contributions to science, the Discourses on Two New Sciences, were published in 1638, by the Elzevirs, at Leiden, in Holland. It had been completed in *636, but could not be published at once because his works were banned in Italy. In 1637 Galilei became totally blind, but he con­ tinued to do what he could, with the aid of his disciples, notably Viviani and Torricelli.

It was in these societies that modern science found the opportunities and the encouragement which were denied to it at the Universities, not only in the seventeenth century, but for a long time afterwards. T h e A ccad em ia d e l C imento The Academy of Experiments was founded in Florence in 1657. Its moving spirits were two of Galilei’s most distinguished disciples, Viviani and Torricelli. The necessary financial support came from the two Medicis, the Grand Duke Ferdinand II of Tuscany and his brother Leopold, who had both of them studied under Galilei.

The bulb with its residual contents was weighed again, and so the weight o f the escaped air was determined in relation to that o f an equal volume o f water. Galilei’s estimate was that water is four hundred times as heavy as air. Actually it is 773 times as heavy, but, o f course, allowance must be made for the inadequacy o f the scales he used to respond correctly to the difference produced by the escape o f a compara­ tively small volume of air. In view of his determination of the weight of air, it seems remark­ able that Galilei should have failed to clear up the mystery of the water-pump and kindred phenomena.

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