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The programme looks at the Aristotelian earth-centred world system and its development into the Ptolemaic systems which remained the accepted scientific theory for over 1000 years. It then looks at... the scientific renaissance which followed Copernicus' theory of a Sun centred system. It explains Kepler's rules for the heavens and Galileo's rules for motion on the earth, setting the scene for the Newtonian synthesis of celestial and terrestrial mechanics.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: S354, Understanding space and time
Item code: S354; 01
First transmission date: 28-02-1979
Published: 1979
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:30
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Producer: Ian Rosenbloom
Contributors: George Abell; Alan Cooper
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Aristotle; Celestial/terrestrial mechanics; Copernicus; Earth centred world system; Kepler; Newtonian synthesis; Ptolemaic system; Sun centred system; Venice
Subject terms: Physics--History; Galilei, Galileo, 1564-1642
Footage description: Pan across Tuscan countryside. Commentary by Jean Challis (v/o) introduces the programme. Short excerpt read from Galileo's "Dialogues". Alan Cooper, on a gondola in Venice, gives some explanatory background to Galileo's "Dialogues". Through a series of animations showing movement of the stars and planets in the sky above Florence. George Abell discusses the views of the universe as held by the Ancients. Alan Cooper, at the University of Padua, discusses the scheme of Ptolemy for representing the motions of stars and planets. An animation helps to illustrate his points. Cooper goes on to explain that differences between the Ptolemaic view and that of Galileo were really only geometrical descriptions of movement taken from different frames of reference. Each could describe the movement of the stars and planets with any accuracy desired. Discussing the work of Kepler on determining the motion of planets, George Abell points out the influence of Kepler on Galileo. Shots of Tycho Brahe's observatory, the anatomy theatre at Padua University, and animated diagrams as he talks. Alan Cooper discusses the development of Galileo studies of terrestrial mechanics. Shots of a mural showing Galileo's inclined plane experiment and of the Leaning Tower at Pisa. To illustrate that Galileo's predictions work also on the moon, film shots show an experiment carried out by Apollo astronauts on the moon in which a feather and a hammer are dropped together and hit the ground simultaneously. Cooper carries on his discussion of Galileo's experiments and predictions. He drops a ball down an inclined plane, does the circle/chord experiment, etc. Cooper finally explains the use made by Galileo of pendulums to measure time for his experiments. George Abell discusses, briefly, the role of Newton in finding the link between terrestrial and celestial mechanics.
Master spool number: 6HT/72953
Production number: FOUS062K
Videofinder number: 2033
Available to public: no