The Origins of Statics: The Sources of Physical Theory, 1st by Pierre Duhem (auth.)

By Pierre Duhem (auth.)

If ever a tremendous learn of the heritage of technological know-how must have acted like a surprising revolution it really is this ebook, released in volumes in 1905 and 1906 below the identify, Les origines de l. a. statique. Paris, where of e-book, and the Librairie scientifique A. Hermann that introduced it's sufficient of a warrantly to avoid a really diverse out, may seem to consequence. with out prompting somebody, for a few years but, to persist with up the progressive vistas which it unfolded, Les origines de l. a. statique definitely revolutionized Duhem's closing ten or so years. He turned the single-handed discoverer of an enormous new land of Western highbrow background. part a century later it could possibly nonetheless be acknowledged in regards to the all at once proliferating stories in medieval technology that they have been such a lot of commentariesonDuhem's countlessfindings and observations. in fact, in 1906, Paris and the highbrow global generally have been mesmerized by way of Bergson's Evolution creatrice, freshly off the clicking. It was once intended to result in a revolution. Bergson challenged head-on the top dogma of the days, the assumption of mechanistic evolution. He did so by way of noting, between different issues, that to talk of vitalism used to be at the least a roundabout attractiveness of medical lack of awareness a few huge variety of proof pertaining to life-processes. He held excessive the assumption of a "vital impetus passing via matter," and certainly via all topic or the universe, an impetus thatcould be detected merely via intuitiveknowledge.

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The so-called Renaissances were frequently nothing but unjust and sterile reactions. Finally, respect for tradition is an essential condition for all scientific progress. C) Although we are left with few monuments from the profound research of the Ancients into the laws of equilibrium, those few are worthy of eternal admiration. Two texts in particular stand out because they are undoubtedly the most admirable: the book which Aristotle devotes to questions of mechanics and the treatises written by Archimedes.

Stimulated by a question from Antonio Fiore, who owed to Ferro of Bologna a method of solving an equation of the third degree, Tartaglia 8 JEROME CARDAN 33 went on to solve all equations of that order. His discovery, which he carefully kept secret so that he could safely challenge his rivals, like a swashbuckler keeps to himself a secret thrust, was finally found out. Cardan was very curious about the solution and repeatedly asked Tartaglia or had someone else ask him to give him the method. Having been refused each time, Cardan was able to get hold of a fragment of a verse which explained how to obtain the root of any equation of the third degree.

As early as the beginnings of the 13th century, and perhaps even earlier, Jordanus de Nemore had demonstrated the law of the lever by proceeding from the following postulate: the same work is needed to lift different weights when the weights are in inverse proportion to the heights which they travel through. This idea, which can be found in germinal form in the treatise of Jordanus, was progressively developed in the works of his followers up to Leonardo da Vinci, Cardan, Roberval, Descartes, and Wallis, and reached its final formulation in the letter which Jean Bernoulli sent to Varignon, as well as in the Mecanique analytique of Lagrange and in the works of Willard Gibbs.

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