Galileo's Muse: Renaissance Mathematics and the Arts by Mark Austin Peterson

By Mark Austin Peterson

Mark Peterson makes a rare declare during this attention-grabbing e-book targeted round the existence and regarded Galileo: it was once the math of Renaissance arts, now not Renaissance sciences, that grew to become sleek technological know-how. Galileo's Muse argues that painters, poets, musicians, and designers caused a systematic revolution that eluded the philosopher-scientists of the day, steeped as they have been in a medieval cosmos and its underlying philosophy.

in keeping with Peterson, the restoration of classical technology owes a lot to the Renaissance artists who first became to Greek resources for notion and guide. Chapters dedicated to their insights into arithmetic, starting from standpoint in portray to tuning in track, are interspersed with chapters approximately Galileo's personal existence and paintings. Himself an artist became scientist and an avid scholar of Hellenistic tradition, Galileo pulled jointly the numerous threads of his inventive and classical schooling in designing unheard of experiments to free up the secrets and techniques of nature.

within the final bankruptcy, Peterson attracts our cognizance to the Oratio de Mathematicae laudibus of 1627, introduced by way of one in every of Galileo's scholars. This record, Peterson argues, used to be penned partly by way of Galileo himself, as an expression of his realizing of the universality of arithmetic in paintings and nature. it's "entirely Galilean in such a lot of info that no matter if it's by-product, it needs to symbolize his thought," Peterson writes. An highbrow experience, Galileo’s Muse deals impressive rules that would trap the mind's eye of anyone—scientist, mathematician, background buff, lover of literature, or artist—who cares in regards to the humanistic roots of recent science.

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Extra info for Galileo's Muse: Renaissance Mathematics and the Arts

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Geometry occupied an erudite but apparently somewhat obscure corner of the Renaissance intellectual universe. It had a high sta­tus. It was something you might encounter among court pages or in a gentleman’s library, where it had a static, ornamental quality. No one was proving new theorems in geometry. Geometry was a classical artifact with a vaguely sensed and uncertain philosophical importance. That was one of its meanings, but hardly a satisfying one. It was more of a question than an answer.

That there are exactly five of them is a Pythagorean discovery. The most familiar of these regular polyhedra is the cube, having the square for a face, with three squares meeting perpendicularly at each vertex (corner), for a total of six faces in all. If we use an equilateral triangle for the face, we can make three faces meet at each vertex, forming the tetrahedron, with four faces in all; we can make four faces meet at each vertex, forming the octahedron, with eight faces in all; or we can make five faces meet at each vertex, forming the icosahedron, with twenty faces in all.

38 This last was a reference not to Scripture but to Ar­is­totle, as if Ar­is­totle were also sacred. But there was another hard-­fought controversy between Galileo and the Aristotelians in those years on the question of why things float, never really resolved in favor of either side. ) Although these controversies with the Aristotelians were notorious at the time and have been a staple of the Galileo story ever since, Galileo never spoke other than respectfully of Ar­is­totle himself. He faulted the Aristotelians of his day, but argued against them that in light of new evidence their teacher would have changed his mind.

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