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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > Vannoccio Biringuccio Quotes

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Vannoccio Biringuccio
(20 Oct 1480 - c. 1539)

Italian metallurgist and manufacturer.

Science Quotes by Vannoccio Biringuccio (3 quotes)

[On the propulsive force of rockets] One part of fire takes up as much space as ten parts of air, and one part of air takes up the space of ten parts of water, and one part of water as much as ten parts of earth. Now powder is earth, consisting of the four elementary principles, and when the sulfur conducts the fire into the dryest part of the powder, fire, and air increase … the other elements also gird themselves for battle with each other and the rage of battle is changed by their heat and moisture into a strong wind.
— Vannoccio Biringuccio
In De La Pirotechnia (1540). From the 1943 English translation, as given in Willy Ley, Rockets: The Future of Travel Beyond the Stratosphere (1944), 64. Though Birinuccio provided the first insight into what propels a rocket, the “strong wind” blowing downward, he did not explain why that should cause the rocket to rise upward, as Issac Newton would do with his Third Law of Motion, nearly a century and a half later.
Science quotes on:  |  Air (366)  |  Battle (36)  |  Change (639)  |  Conduct (70)  |  Earth (1076)  |  Element (322)  |  Elementary (98)  |  Fire (203)  |  Force (497)  |  Heat (180)  |  Increase (225)  |  Moisture (21)  |  Other (2233)  |  Powder (9)  |  Principle (530)  |  Propulsion (10)  |  Rage (10)  |  Rocket (52)  |  Space (523)  |  Strong (182)  |  Sulfur (5)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Water (503)  |  Wind (141)

I have no knowledge other than that gained through my own eyes.
— Vannoccio Biringuccio
In De La Pirotechnia (1540). As translated in Pirotechnia (1959), 70.
Science quotes on:  |  Eye (440)  |  Gain (146)  |  Knowledge (1647)  |  Other (2233)  |  Through (846)

The credulous … advance the authority of hearsay in place of reasons for possible success or facts that can be demonstrated.
— Vannoccio Biringuccio
In De La Pirotechnia (1540). As translated in Pirotechnia (1959), 36. Biringuccio rejected the lore of alchemy, and believed in his own practical observation instead of the writing of ancient philosophers.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (298)  |  Authority (99)  |  Credulous (9)  |  Demonstration (120)  |  Fact (1257)  |  Facts (553)  |  Hearsay (5)  |  Possible (560)  |  Reason (766)  |  Success (327)

See also:
  • 20 Oct - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Biringuccio's birth.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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