- Submitted By: ianzhou8
- Date Submitted: 02/01/2014 5:56 PM
- Category: Science
- Words: 1098
- Page: 5
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Galileo’s analysis of projectile motion

Galileo Galilei was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution

He postulated that all objects, regardless of their mass, fall at the same rate. So the acceleration due to gravity is the same for all objects. This is only true if air resistance can be ignored.

Experiments based on dropping different objects proved inconclusive as they drop so fast and air resistance has greater effect than anticipated, so Galileo developed a method of rolling balls down highly polished ramps in order to make his comparisons. This enabled him to slow down the motion enough to make more accurate observations of the motion. Subsequently, he used trigonometry to calculate the value of acceleration due to gravity

Galileo also proposed that projectile motion consisted of both horizontal and vertical components. The horizontal and vertical components act independently of each other and occurs simultaneously and perpendicular to each other. Vertical acceleration was the same for all falling objects if air resistance is disregarded. He attempted to prove this in the well know Leaning Tower of Pisa Experiment.

Galileo was the first person who accurately described projectile motion. Because of the drawings of Niccolo Tartaglia, Galileo realized that a projectile followed a curved path which is called a parabola. It was later found out by Galileo that the parabola has an exact mathematical shape. Also, he stated that a projectile was acted upon by two forces, vertical and horizontal. The vertical force was from gravity, which pulled it to Earth at 9.8 m/s. That is why a parabola is a precise mathematical equation.

He deduced the parabolic shape of the trajectory of a projectile by performing experiments with inclined planes and projectiles. This made the analysis much easier as the properties of the parabola had been known since the time of the ancient Greeks.

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