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The library of Istituto Lombardo owns two volumes of XVI century (cinquecentine) including physical sections. La nova scientia by Niccolò Tartaglia printed In Venetia: per Nicolò de Bascarini a istantia de l’Autore, 1550 and the De rerum varietate by Girolamo Cardano printed Basileae: per Sebastianum Henricpetri, 1581. Together with the De Subtilitate by Girolamo Cardano, these books contain the general laws of dynamics and, in great detail, a description of the trajectory of a projectile fired from a firearm. Though the general principles are still of Aristotelian derivation, a new attention to experimental facts together with an unconvential pragmatic use of etherogeneous explanation arguments, justified by an essentially practical goal of predictive nature, induce one to identify both Tartaglia and Cardano as true precursors of modern ballistics. Furthermore, the way Cardano revisits the role of driving force played by the projectile-air interaction, following a modified idea of Aristotle due to the lacking of an inertia law in his mechanics, and the concomitant need that air produces also a resisting force, reminds us that, so far, a rigorous microscopic derivation of the exclusively dissipative nature of this force has not been achieved yet as well as a rigorous microscopic derivation of the second principle of thermodynamics.
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