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By David Speiser

This selection of essays on relationships among technological know-how, historical past of technology, heritage of artwork and philosophy is a multi-faceted sequel to the 1st quantity, learning the foundations of Mechanics 1600-1800, released in 2008. in the course of his occupation, David Speiser was once at the beginning a theoretical physicist with first-hand wisdom of the way primary examine is conducted, yet he was once additionally a historian of technology and editor of old writings in addition to a prepared observer of artworks and structure. In those essays he compares and contrasts creative creations with medical discoveries, the paintings of the artist and that of the scientist, and strategy of research of the artwork historian to that of the historian of technological know-how. what's printed is how the boundaries of person disciplines may be driven and infrequently thoroughly triumph over because the results of enter from and interactions with different fields, and the way development will also be very unlikely with no such interactions. The reflections elucidated the following refute the assumption, so engrained in our considering this present day, of the ‘two cultures’, and underline the solidarity instead of the variety inherent in inventive inspiration either clinical and inventive. Contained listed here are ten papers, all newly edited with up-to-date references, 4 of which were translated into English for the 1st time, and accomplished with an index of names. meant for the expert and non-specialist alike, those essays set ahead of us a dinner party of principles.

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Extra info for Crossroads: History of Science, History of Art: Essays by David Speiser, Volume 2

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Now: theology. The painting does indeed make a theological statement, but one that is in accordance with the instruction of the Franciscans, who commissioned the painting: the Virgin is placed on the same level as the Christ, not lower, which is unusual. If Raphael himself made a theological statement here, it might be as I am about to explain, but I would not press the point. The axis of the geometric construction does not coincide with the axis of the painting itself. But the former concerns an earthly matter only, while the axis of the painting is determined by the heavenly order.

It is at this point that we must think of the Arab and Pisan mathematicians who lived in Pisa at and around the period of Fibonacci, mathematicians who most certainly knew how to construct a regular pentagon and a pentadecagon, and who were well aware of being probably the only ones who possessed this knowledge. Thus, in my opinion, the explanation for the artistic concept of the Tower, as well as for the abandonment of Diotisalvi’s design for the construction of the exterior of the Baptistery must be sought in the very close collaboration between artists and scientists in Pisa of that day.

Baptistery: Plan with geometric construction. With respect to square ABCD defined by the four piers, square IHJK, defined by eight columns, is rotated 45°. The intersection of the two squares forms an octagon similar to that of the baptismal font. Neither the dodecagonal symmetry (four piers and eight columns) nor the octagonal symmetry is compatible with the twenty-fold symmetry formed by the twenty sides of the exterior perimeter, as shown by the red radii that intersect the columns and piers.

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