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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2006
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2008
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified 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 When Science and Christianity Meet which shows the consensus view among historians of science on this.

For those interested in Galileo's physics of bodies and motion and the book which he said, "contain results which I consider the most important of all my studies" then "Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences" is the correct one.

For a general sample of many of Galileo's works and related documents from his "controversy" from those who did the trials on Galileo, please read : The Essential Galileo. Look also at Galileo's Sidereus Nuncius, or The Sidereal Messenger for his observation on the surface of the moon from his telescope.

A few similarities between both books by Galileo with similar titles have laid confusion to some of these reviewers:

1. as was mentioned, both begin with similar titles: "Dialogues Concerning Two....."
2. Both have the same picture of 3 men speaking
3. There are 4 days of dialogues in both books
4. The same three characters are found in both books: Salviati, Sagredo, Simplicio

These similarities between both books are what makes them so hard to distinguish for anyone who has not read either one of these works. So confusion and disappointment are expected. I too got confused until I got copies of both assuming they were both the same. I wanted a better copy of "Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences" and bought "Dialogues Concerning Two Chief World Systems" since it was cheaper (by very little). I read the Copernican heliocentric arguments that are only found in "Dialogues Concerning Two Chief World Systems" and noticed that "Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences" was different and did not focus Copernicus at all, but instead focused on motions and bodies.

Hopefully this post clarifies and saves people from buying the wrong book. In any case, I say get both books since "Dialogues Concerning Two Chief World Systems" IS notable and important (but not revolutionary since defending Copernicus was not done in an empirical fashion and the astronomical data matched better with the Ptolemy's Geocentric model at that time). "Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences" gives insight to the mind and experiments of Galileo along with his debates on the nature of bodies and varieties of motion.

For those interested in some the works Galileo discusses in "Dialogues Concerning Two Chief World Systems" please look at Ptolemy's Ptolemy's Almagest, Copernicus' On the Revolutions: Nicholas Copernicus Complete Works (Foundations of Natural History), and Aristarchus of Samos' Aristarchus of Samos: The Ancient Copernicus (Dover Books on Astronomy) (he is called an ancient Copernicus by some).

In terms of "On the Revolutions", Copernicus himself dedicated the work to the Pope in the Preface. In this work, he models two different ideas: 1) the sun, not the earth, is at the center of the universe and 2) the earth rotates on its axis. Furthermore, Copernicus' ideas were not novel since he was aware of Aristarchus of Samos' heliocentric model and also other heliocentrists and earth axial rotationists like the Pythagoreans Herakleides and Ekphantus, and also Hicetas the Syracusean. He mentions them in the text. Numerous arguments had been laid out for doubting that the earth rotates in previous centuries, mainly empirical arguments.

A good review of the geocentric-heliocentirc debates is Theories of the World from Antiquity to the Copernican Revolution: Second Revised Edition. The situation was not obvious and both models had their merits and problems. Of course the Ptolemaic and Copernican models weren't the only contest either. Tycho Brahe, a contemporary, had made a "geo-heliocentric" model from his observations which spliced both Ptolemy and Copernicus in an interesting way (both the earth and sun were essentially at the center of the universe). At the time there was no conclusive evidence to decide for or against any of the 3 models. The direct evidences that supported heliocenrtrism came about century or more after Galileo had lived (1564-1642): James Bradley (1725-1729) - stellar aberration of light (implied that the earth rotated on its axis as it orbited around the sun) and Friedrich Bessel (1838) - stellar parallax (the apparent shift of position of any nearby star against the background of distant stars).
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
The publishers and Stephen Hawking evidently think they are reprinting Galileo's famous book supporting the Copernican viewpoint, "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems". Instead, they've given us "Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences", a magnificent book (I use it as a text in my Galileo and Einstein course, see my website) BUT this book has nothing to say about planets or Copernicus -- the furthest object from earth in this book is a cannonball in flight! It's a five star book, but not if you want to find out what Galileo thought of Copernicus...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Galileo's "Dialogue Concerning Two New Sciences" covers the basics of what is today called classical mechanics. His main topics are the cohesion and strength of materials, uniform and uniformly accelerated motion, and projectile motion. But I also appreciate Galileo's tangents: his thoughts about infinity, the speed of light, vibrations, music, and his bouncing up against the concepts of Calculus and what would be known as Newton's Laws of Motion. The "dialogue" style works well at first, but as the book progresses he nearly abandons this as apparently unworkable, and just gives proof after proof, many of which are awkward and difficult to follow (though part of my pleasure in reading it is solving those proofs that Galileo leaves out). Galileo is clearly a genius -- he doesn't get everything right, but given what he had to go on it is amazing what he was able to figure out.
This book should be read by every serious student and teacher of Physics and Engineering.
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on December 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Galileo Galilei’s (1564-1642) book “Two new sciences” is a cornerstone of modern physics. One of the new sciences was kinetics. Galileo described the law for the accelerated motion of freely falling bodies. The other was the study of the strength of materials, a branch of mechanics.

Galileo started to compile his most important theoretical findings after he had been condemned to home arrest by the Catholic Church in 1633 due to his support for the heliocentric world system in "Two world systems" (1632). The work took a couple of years. The manuscript was smuggled to Leiden where the book was published in 1638.

In the book, the discussions are held by the same three persons as in Galileo's previous “Two world systems”. This time Galileo was anxious to present his scientific findings, and did not put much emphasis on the discussions. The book is much more mathematical than the “Two world systems”.

My favorites are the chapters on uniform and accelerated motion (especially the beginning of the third day, pages 116-142), and the chapter on the motion of projectiles (especially the beginning of the fourth day, pages 189-199). I enjoyed going through Galileo’s mathematical proofs. At several places, I really had to work hard to follow the track of the proofs.

In mechanics, I was delighted to read Galileo’s thought about the binding forces within metals. He presented as his passing and immature thought that the metals might contain a huge number of tiny vacuums (vacua) (first day, page 15). He was wrong in this, but this does not matter. The important thing is that this shows that Galileo was interested in understanding the phenomena also at the tiniest scale.

Galileo presented clever ideas on the measurement of the speed of the light and on the gravity of the air. He was also interested in the theory of music. All these subjects are discussed during the first day.

I admire Galileo for his creativity, versatility and passion for science.
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3 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
Galileo's masterpiece comes through to all who are blessed enough to read it. Copernicus would be proud.
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1 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
instead of dialogue only. I have not read entire book, but the preview of the book was boring. I like the picture description better than word description. I realized Galileo could not draw his theories directly, instead he let us imagine it by reading his words, because the church would have given him ultimate punishment if he did.
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