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Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences (Dover Books on Physics) Paperback – June 1, 1954

4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Italian --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Galileo Galilei (1564 1642) was an Italian physicist, mathematician, philosopher, and astronomer.

Product Details

  • Series: Dover Books on Physics
  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (January 1, 1954)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1275100570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486600994
  • ASIN: 0486600998
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,420,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Galileo Galilei had seriously considered the priesthood as a young man, at his father's urging he instead enrolled at the University of Pisa for a medical degree.[20] In 1581, when he was studying medicine, he noticed a swinging chandelier, which air currents shifted about to swing in larger and smaller arcs. It seemed, by comparison with his heartbeat, that the chandelier took the same amount of time to swing back and forth, no matter how far it was swinging. When he returned home, he set up two pendulums of equal length and swung one with a large sweep and the other with a small sweep and found that they kept time together. It was not until Christiaan Huygens almost one hundred years later, however, that the tautochrone nature of a swinging pendulum was used to create an accurate timepiece.[21] To this point, he had deliberately been kept away from mathematics (since a physician earned so much more than a mathematician), but upon accidentally attending a lecture on geometry, he talked his reluctant father into letting him study mathematics and natural philosophy instead.[21] He created a thermoscope (forerunner of the thermometer) and in 1586 published a small book on the design of a hydrostatic balance he had invented (which first brought him to the attention of the scholarly world). Galileo also studied disegno, a term encompassing fine art, and in 1588 attained an instructor position in the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence, teaching perspective and chiaroscuro. Being inspired by the artistic tradition of the city and the works of the Renaissance artists, Galileo acquired an aesthetic mentality. While a young teacher at the Accademia, he began a lifelong friendship with the Florentine painter Cigoli, who included Galileo's lunar observations in one of his paintings.[22][23]

In 1589, he was appointed to the chair of mathematics in Pisa. In 1591 his father died and he was entrusted with the care of his younger brother Michelagnolo. In 1592, he moved to the University of Padua, teaching geometry, mechanics, and astronomy until 1610.[24] During this period Galileo made significant discoveries in both pure fundamental science (for example, kinematics of motion and astronomy) as well as practical applied science (for example, strength of materials and improvement of the telescope). His multiple interests included the study of astrology, which at the time was a discipline tied to the studies of mathematics and astronomy.[25]

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book, but I don't think it's quite what the publisher thought it was. The previous reviewer is right in saying that this book does not support Copernicus' heliocentricism in any way. It is a discussion of motion, not astronomy. I would agree with the previous review in saying that the publishers probably meant to publish Dialogues Concerning Two Chief World Systems, which does in fact discuss heliocentricism and support Copernicus. How one manages to publish the wrong book I have no idea. Did no one read this before they published it? And how on earth did Stephen Hawking not notice either and write about the wrong book?

Well, it's a good book anyway, just not what they say it is. I recommend reading it if you want to understand the developments of science (esp. motion and mechanics), but if you want to learn about the Copernican Revolution and Galileo's conflict with the church, then the book you are looking for is Dialogues Concerning Two Chief World Systems. I would also recomment Galileo's Daughter as an amazing biography of Galileo based around a correspondence between him and his daughter.

Overall grade: A for the book, F for the publisher's description.
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Format: Paperback
One of the foundational works of modern science, the text speaks for itself in its lucidity and its grounding in method. I review it to address a criticism leveled at this book by the reviewers below.

These reviewers have erroneously perceived that these texts were mistakenly published, and that the original intent of the publisher was to present Galileo's original papers on heliocentrism and Copernicus, "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World systems: Ptolemaic and Copernican". As the texts herein are Galileo's works on accelerated motion, the conclusion is drawn that a major mistake was made.

I believe this perception is based on marketing that associates the series with Copernicus' discoveries in particular.

The fact is that this book is part of a series, the arc of which is to present the current model of the physical world from Copernicus' discovery of the heliocentric solar system to Einstein's revelation that space and time are warped or displaced by mass and energy. Reviewers mistakenly believed that this Galilean text was intended to stand in support of Copernicus' discovery. In fact, this text is meant to show the development of the laws of motion, and is merely part of the overall series. Hawking's introduction recognizes this correctly, in contradiction to the misunderstanding of the reviewers below.

Those interested in the origins of modern science, the history of science, physics, or intellectual history may well wish to read through this gem.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There actually is confusion over this title. For one, this is not the work where Galileo (1564-1642) defends Copernicus (Heliocentrism) where the sun is the center of the universe or the solar system. That work is called "Dialogues Concerning Two Chief World Systems" (1632).

This work, "Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences" (1638), is about Galileo's experiments in bodies and motion.

The publisher is not wrong at all in calling this work the given title of "..Two New Sciences". If anything it is Galileo's and his original Publisher's fault for naming both works in such a similar fashion: "Dialogues Concerning Two....." The biggest difference is in the last words of the title.

For those concerned with Copernican/Aristarchus of Samos vs Aristotle/Ptolemaic debates (sun vs earth as the center of the universe/solar system) for which Galileo is known for please read Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (Modern Library Science). Its a good work, though Galileo did mock the Aristotle/Ptolemaic model by using a simpleton named "Simplicio" who was mathematically ignorant to represent Ptolemy's intensive and rigorous mathematical geocentric model. Of course there was no decisive evidence for heliocentrism in the time of Galileo so he should have been more careful. This also is what caused tensions between him and his supporter, Pope Urban VIII who had felt ridiculed because Galileo had put the Pope's views in the mouth of Simplicio. For the details on the Galileo affair, one can see
...Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences contains information, in the form of a dialog, about the results of Galileo's experiments in materials science and the physics of motion. There are a a few great thought experiments within like the poof that two objects of different masses fall at the same velocity for example. I found the book hard going at times as Galileo relies mostly on written explanations of the concepts rather than mathematical equations. Galileo makes frequent use of geometry to prove his points so some knowledge of geometry is desirable as a prerequisite for reading this book. Although the book was written a long time ago I learned some things from it, including why small particles of sand will suspend in water. This is because when objects are small the ratio of surface area to volume is greater and particles of water "catch" on the indentations of the surface of the grain of sand thus retarding it's progress deeper into the water. This is a great book and still worth reading.
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