Thursday, 9 July 2009

Galileo's Laws of Motion

Galileo's Laws of Motion:
Galileo Galilei stressed the importance of obtaining knowledge through precise and quanitiative experiment and
observation. Man and Nature are considered distinct and experiment was seen as a sort of dialogue with Nature.
Nature's rational order, which itself is derived from God, was manifested in definite laws.

Aside from his numerous inventions, Galileo also laid down the first accurate laws of motion for masses. Galileo
realized that all bodies accelerate at the same rate regardless of their size or mass. Everyday experience tells you
differently because a feather falls slower than a cannonball. Galileo's genius lay in spotting that the differences that
occur in the everyday world are in incidental complication (in this case, air friction) and are irrelevant to the real
underlying properties (that is, gravity) which is pure mathematical in its form. He was able to abstract from the
complexity of real-life situations the simplicity of an idealized law of gravity.
Key among his investigations are:
l developed the concept of motion in terms of velocity (speed and direction) through the use of inclined planes.
l developed the idea of force, as a cause for motion.
determined that the natural state of an object is rest or uniform motion, i.e. objects always have a velocity,
sometimes that velocity has a magnitude of zero = rest.
l objects resist change in motion, which is called inertia.
Galileo also showed that objects fall with the same speed regardless of their mass. The fact that a feather falls slowly
than a steel ball is due to amount of air resistance that a feather experiences (alot) versus the steel ball (very little).

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