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For forty years, beginning with the publication of the first modern English translation of the Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, Stillman Drake was the most original and productive scholar of Galileo's scientific work of our age. During that time, he published sixteen books on Galileo, including translations of almost all the major writings, and Galileo at Work, the most comprehensive study of Galileo's life and works ever written. His collection Discoveries and Opinions on Galileo has remained in print since its appearance in 1957 and has become the most widely read of all books on Galileo. In addition to his books, Drake published about 130 papers, of which nearly 100 are on Galileo and the rest on related aspects of the history and philosophy of science. This three-volume collection includes eighty of those papers.
Drake's papers are an essential supplement to his translations and other books because it was in his papers that he wrote his most detailed technical studies of Galileo's scientific work. There is hardly a subject in Galileo's science that is not considered. Perhaps the most important is the series on mechanics and motion, in which Drake analysed Galileo's manuscript notes recording the experiments by which he discovered and confirmed the law of the acceleration of falling bodies. There are also papers on the notes in which Galileo recorded his discovery of Jupiter's satellites and on other aspects of Galileo's astronomy, including his defence of the Copernican theory.
Other papers consider Galileo's life and scientific work in general, exploring what Drake calls the 'scientific personality' of Galileo along with his scientific method and philosophy of science. In addition to the papers on Galileo, there are a number of papers on medieval and early modern science, principally on mechanics, and on the philosophers A.B. Johnson and J.B. Stallo, both of whom influenced Drake's own philosophy of science.
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Stillman Drake was Professor Emeritus at University of Toronto and his illustrious academic career spans over four decades.
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