By R. Sneider

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**Sample text**

From S. Drake, 1 990, Galileo: Pioneer Scientist, p. ) 40 3 G a l i l eo a n d t h e natu re of the p hys i ca l sci e nces Galileo began writing a systematic treatment of all these topics, showing how they could all be understood on the basis of the law of the constant acceleration; in 1 6 1 0, in his own words, he was planning to write: . . three books on mechanics, two with demonstrations of its principles, and one concerning its problems; and though other men have written on the subject, what has been done is not one quarter of what I write, either in quantity or otherwise.

First, the idea that the Earth rotates about an axis was rejected. If the Earth rotated then when an object is thrown up in the air it would not come down again in the same spot - the Earth would have moved, because of its rotation, before the object landed. No one had ever observed this to be the case and so the Earth could not be rotating. The 2 . 2: The basic Ptolemaic system of the world showing the celestial bodies from the Earth in the order, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the sphere of fixed stars.

Now, if objects are dropped they fall towards the centre of the Earth and not towards the Sun. It follows that the Earth must be located at the centre of the Universe. Thus, religious belief was supported by scientific rationale. According to the Ptolemaic geocentric system of the world, the Earth is stationary at the centre of the Universe and the principal orbits of the other celestial objects are circles in the order Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and finally the sphere of the fixed stars (Fig.