Beeckman, Isaac(bāk`mən), 1588–1637, Dutch physicist. An early proponent of mathematical reasoning and experimental verification in natural philosophy, he contributed to the modern conception of inertiainertia
, in physics, the resistance of a body to any alteration in its state of motion, i.e., the resistance of a body at rest to being set in motion or of a body in motion to any change of speed or change in direction of motion. Inertia is a property common to all matter.
..... Click the link for more information. and free fallfree fall,
in physics, the state of a body moving solely under the influence of gravitational forces (see gravitation). A body falling freely toward the surface of the earth undergoes an acceleration due to gravity of 32 ft/sec2 (9.
..... Click the link for more information. and discovered an important hydrodynamic law concerning the rate of flow of water from a vessel. Although his recorded scientific work is largely confined to his Journael (diary) and notes, he influenced scientific development through his personal acquaintance with such famous contemporaries as René DescartesDescartes, René
, Lat. Renatus Cartesius, 1596–1650, French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist, b. La Haye. Descartes' methodology was a major influence in the transition from medieval science and philosophy to the modern era.
..... Click the link for more information. , Pierre GassendiGassendi, Pierre
, 1592–1655, French philosopher and scientist. A teacher and priest, Gassendi taught at Digne, Aix, and the Royal College at Paris and held several church offices. He ranked with the leading mathematicians of his day.
..... Click the link for more information. , and Marin Mersenne, and through his rectorship of the Latin school at Dordrecht.