, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 673–675 | Cite as

Shaping knowledge: Thomas Harriot and the mechanics of motion

Matthias Schemmel: The English Galileo: Thomas Harriot’s work on motion as an example of preclassical mechanics. Dordrecht: Springer, 2008, 2 vols., xxvi+762pp, €149.95 HB
  • Luciano Boschiero
Book Review

This book is an ambitious attempt to catalogue and interpret the unpublished manuscripts on mechanics by English mathematician and philosopher, Thomas Harriot (1560–1621). It is part of a series of works, conducted at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin and published by Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, on the changes and development of the mechanical sciences during the early modern era. Schemmel’s contribution to this project focuses on Harriot’s attempts to describe bodies in motion, particularly projectiles.

In the process of conducting his research, Schemmel had to sift through, catalogue, date and interpret 180 mostly unpublished folio pages. The result is this two-volume work, the second of which contains facsimiles and transcriptions of the relevant folios. Unless readers wish to conduct their own research on Harriot’s manuscript papers, the first volume containing Schemmel’s interpretation and analysis would be of greater interest. Here, in...


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Campion CollegeOld ToongabbieAustralia

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