Institute and Museum of History of Science, Florence, ITALY

                      The main characters                   
Adrien Auzout (1622-1691) Giovan Battista Baliani (1582-1666) Isaac Beeckman (1588-1637)

Born in Genoa, he studied law, before entering the service of the Genovese Republic, for whom he worked, from 1611, as Prefect of the fortress of Savona. He was nominated Governor of Sarzana in 1623, and became a member of the Genovese Senate the following year. In 1647, he returned to Savona as Governor.
He was intensely interested in the developments of the discussions on problems of motion, In 1638 he published the volume De motu gravium solidorum (which was then reprinted with copious additions in 1646), in which he arrived beforehand at some of the conclusions drawn by Galileo in his Discorsi intorno a due nuove scienze, which appeared in the same year. In particular, Baliani announced a correct law of falling bodies, working out - even on a theoretical foundation which belied a persistent link to traditional aristotelian philosophy - many interesting theories about movement on inclined planes, and the equal periods of a swinging pendulum. Given his familiarity with Galileo, with whom he was in frequent correspondence, the actual originality of Baliani's theories of dynamics have been long debated.
It is in a letter to Galileo where he shows his interest in the problems linked to pneumatics. Baliani asked for advice on the reasons for the failure of his syphon, which had to carry water to a height of about 21 metres. Galileo's reply determined the working limits of a suction pump, highlighting the impossibility of raising a column of water any higher than 18 braccia (11 meters).






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