# Proof that Objects Fall at the Same Rate

Salv.

But, even without further experiment, it is possible to prove clearly, by means of a short and conclusive argument, that a heavier body does not move more rapidly than a lighter one provided both bodies are of the same material and in short such as those mentioned by Aristotle. But tell me, Simplicio, whether you admit that each falling body acquires a definite speed fixed by nature, a velocity which cannot be increased or diminished except by the use of force [violenza] or resistance.

Simp.

There can be no doubt but that one and the same body moving in a single medium has a fixed velocity which is determined by nature and which cannot be increased except by the addition of momentum [impeto] or diminished except by some resistance which retards it.

Salv.

If then we take two bodies whose natural speeds are different, it is clear that on uniting the two, the more rapid one will be partly retarded by the slower, and the slower will be somewhat hastened by the swifter. Do you not agree with me in this opinion?

Simp.

You are unquestionably right.

Salv.

But if this is true, and if a large stone moves with a speed of, say, eight while a smaller moves with a speed of four, then when they are united, the system will move with a speed less than eight; but the two stones when tied together make a stone larger than that which before moved with a speed of eight. Hence the heavier body moves with less speed than the lighter; an effect which is contrary to your supposition. Thus you see[108] how, from your assumption that the heavier body moves more rapidly than the lighter one, I infer that the heavier body moves more slowly.

Simp.

I am all at sea because it appears to me that the smaller stone when added to the larger increases its weight and by adding weight I do not see how it can fail to increase its speed or, at least, not to diminish it.

Salv.

Here again you are in error, Simplicio, because it is not true that the smaller stone adds weight to the larger.

Simp.

This is, indeed, quite beyond my comprehension.

Salv.

It will not be beyond you when I have once shown you the mistake under which you are laboring. Note that it is necessary to distinguish between heavy bodies in motion and the same bodies at rest. A large stone placed in a balance not only acquires additional weight by having another stone placed upon it, but even by the addition of a handful of hemp its weight is augmented six to ten ounces according to the quantity of hemp. But if you tie the hemp to the stone and allow them to fall freely from some height, do you believe that the hemp will press down upon the stone and thus accelerate its motion or do you think the motion will be retarded by a partial upward pressure? One always feels the pressure upon his shoulders when he prevents the motion of a load resting upon him; but if one descends just as rapidly as the load would fall how can it gravitate or press upon him? Do you not see that this would be the same as trying to strike a man with a lance when he is running away from you with a speed which is equal to, or even greater, than that with which you are following him? You must therefore conclude that, during free and natural fall, the small stone does not press upon the larger and consequently does not increase its weight as it does when at rest.

Simp.

But what if we should place the larger stone upon the smaller?

Its weight would be increased if the larger stone moved more rapidly; but we have already concluded that when the small stone moves more slowly it retards to some extent the speed of the larger, so that the combination of the two, which is a heavier body than the larger of the two stones, would move less rapidly, a conclusion which is contrary to your hypothesis. We infer therefore that large and small bodies move with the same speed provided they are of the same specific gravity.

## Notes:

Galileo's proof is based completely on a thought-experiment, no observation necessary.

Folksonomies: gravity thought experiment proof

Taxonomies:
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/health and fitness/weight loss (0.353726)
/religion and spirituality (0.284724)

Keywords:
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Entities:
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Concepts:
Stone (0.918866): dbpedia
Logic (0.787918): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Velocity (0.729565): dbpedia | freebase
Speed (0.643473): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Body (0.597494): dbpedia | freebase
Mental retardation (0.594998): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Galilei , Galileo (2011-01-01), Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences, Digireads.com Publishing, Retrieved on 2013-10-23
• Source Material [books.google.com]
• Folksonomies: science