Reenacting Galileo’s Experiments: Rediscovering the Techniques of Seventeenth-Century Science

Author: Palmieri, Paolo
This book explores the innovative methodology—experimental philosophy of Galileo. The author’s own methodology consists of identifying frameworks of dependencies that bond texts within broader traditions and in articulating the consequences of assumptions in rendering texts meaningful to historical actors.

In addition to the text of this book, readers are invited to consult the corresponding website of the Experimental History and Philosophy of Science Research Unit at the University of Pittsburgh (
This website contains a series of videos illustrating some recently performed reconstructions of Galileo’s experiments and a 68 page-long report of the team’s reenactment of them.


“No one has examined in such detail and with such patience how Galileo arrived at his results. Palmieri extends our understanding of what Galileo wanted to achieve and how he went about getting his pioneering results, and his book will be welcomed by everyone interested in the genesis of the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth-century.”

Prof. William R. Shea, Galileo Professor of History of Science, University of Padua, Padova, Italy

“Scholars go astray if they interpret Galileo’s writings in the light of remembered elementary lessons in physics. Palmieri would have us enter the experimental scene in its complexity, by actual experiment if feasible or by computer simulation where the factors are multiple and numerical integration with variation of parameters is needed to discover what they portend.”

Prof. Curtis Wilson, St. John’s College, Emeritus

“A particular strength of this book is the way that it places Galileo in his intellectual context. It is rare to find such detailed study of Galileo’s contemporaries or recent predecessors, either those working in similar problems to Galileo or those defending Scholastic views. Such work is of considerable importance.”

Prof. Andrew Gregory, Senior Lecturer, History of Science, University College, London

Journal Review
"Palmieri has written a fascinating work, which no one seriously interested in Galileo’s scienza should overlook. This is an exciting book, which, in combination with the corresponding website, offers insight into some of Galileo’s experiments and on that account it is to be valued."

Prof. Steffen Ducheyne, Ghent University,
Aestimatio: Critical Reviews in the History of Science

Table of Contents

1. Galileo and Experiment
2. The Puzzle-Box
3. New Science
Appendix 1. The computer models
Appendix 2. The repetition of Galileo’s pendulum experiments
Appendix 3. Galileo’s pendulum texts
Name and Subject Index