Galileo and atomism
Galileo worked mainly on the proof of the Copernican hypothesis in astronomy and on the determination of the laws of naturally accelerated motion in mechanics. His interest in the constitution matter was a relatively late development, and is related to his study of the properties of floating bodies after his return to Florence from Padua in 1610. He returned to the question a second time when he debated the nature of comets in 1616 and, again, in his last and most important work, the Two New Sciences, when he explored the mathematical foundation of the atomic theory of matter. This article examines these three phases in the development of Galileo’s ideas about the nature and the role of atoms.