Museo Galileo
Virtual Museum

Branch of physics that studies the motion (kinetics and dynamics) and equilibrium (statics) of bodies. The origins of mechanics go back to earliest antiquity. It began to develop into a scientific discipline in the Greek world, particularly with Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.) and Archimedes (287-212 B.C.E.), who subjected many problems of statics to a rigorously geometrical treatment. The Middle Ages saw significant advances, most notably thanks to the scientia de ponderibus [science of weights], which reached its apogee in the twelfth-fourteenth centuries. Later, Galileo (1564-1642) made a crucial contribution, being the first to establish the laws of uniformly accelerated motion and the parabolic trajectory of projectiles. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries witnessed a massive diffusion and development of mathematical and experimental mechanics. The latter branch was marked by a proliferation of manuals and demonstration devices.