Cracking tales of historical mathematics and its interplay with science, philosophy, and culture. Revisionist history galore. Contrarian takes on received wisdom. Implications for teaching. Informed by current scholarship. By Dr Viktor Blåsjö.
What was Galileo’s great innovation in science? To give practical experience more authority than philosophical systems? To insist on mechanical as opposed to teleological or supernatural explanations of natural phenomena?
Was Galileo “the father of modern science” because he was the first to unite mathematics and physics? Or the first to base science on data and experiments? No. Galileo was not the first to do any of these things,
Galileo’s sentencing by the Inquisition was avoidable. The Church had no interest in prosecuting mathematical astronomers, but since Galileo had so little to contribute in that domain he foolishly got himself involved with Biblical interpretation.
Galileo thought comets were an atmospheric phenomenon, not physical bodies in outer space. How could he be so wrong when all his colleagues got it right? Perhaps because his theory was a convenient excuse for not doing any mathematical astronomy of com...
Telescopic observations of Venus provided evidence for the Copernican view of the solar system. But was Galileo the first to see this, as he claims? Or did he steal the idea from a colleague and lie about having made the observations months before?
Galileo dismissed the notion that the moon influences the tides as “childish” and “occult.” Instead he argued that tides are a kind of sloshing due to the motion of the earth. This very poor theory is inconsistent with several of his own scientific pri...