GeT Seminar - February 18, 2022


Galileo & the Geometry of the Strength of Materials

Friday, February 18, 2022
11:00 am PT | 12:00 pm MT | 1:00 pm CT | 2:00 pm ET
Presenter: Dr. James Madden

Summary: Galileo proposed a geometric model to explain how much force is required to break a horizontal beam that is secured at one end and pushed down at the other—a cantilever.  Preservice teachers at LSU investigated and tested Galileo’s model using styrofoam beams.  They found that Galileo’s model predicts a strength that is 3 times as great as actually observed.  In fact, Galileo’s error was known in the 17th century, and was corrected by Marriotte and Parent by taking elasticity into account.  Their model explains the 3-fold error observed by the teachers exactly.

Registration Closed

Duration: 60 minutes

Format: Online seminar via Zoom web meeting software with questions and discussion. Detailed instructions for joining the seminar will be emailed to registered participants.


James Madden is the P.H.Bodin Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at LSU and Director of Special Projects in the LSU College of Science, where he oversees the Secondary STEM Teacher Preparation Program at LSU.  He was the PI of the Louisiana Math and Science Teacher Institute, an NSF-funded project that has awarded over 100 LSU Masters Degrees to Louisiana STEM teachers.