The history of science shows, time and again, how erroneous it is to equate the date of publication of a new scientific theory with its acceptance. How long the lag time between invention, diffusion, and reception can be is shown with particular force in the case of Galileo Galilei’s theory of motion. Although our school books mention Galileo’s law of free fall (which states that the spaces traversed by a falling body are proportional to the squares of the times in which they are traversed) as one of the first empirically verifiable, mathematical laws of nature, the historical truth is that it met with neither immediate nor universal approval.


Free Fall Projectile Motion Mathematical Mechanic Mechanical Philosophy Tidal Phenomenon 
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    Dijksterhuis, Val en worp, p. 343.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Westfall, Force, p. 47.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See, i.a., Dijksterhuis, Val en worp; Palmerino, “Infinite Degrees of Speed.”Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See, i.a., Giusti, “Aspetti matematici”; Blay, Reasoning with the Infinite. Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    See, i.a., Dear, Discipline and Experience, pp. 129–144Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Galluzzi, “Gassendi et l’affaire Galilée” Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

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  • Carla Rita Palmerino

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