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Alvarus Thomas:
reopening the Liber de triplici motu (1509)

Textos disponíveis

500th anniversary of the publication

Alvarus Thomas (Álvaro Tomás) (fl. 1509-21), a Portuguese master at the University of Paris, is still a poorly known historical figure. In his Liber de triplici motu he presented a comprehensive analysis of the theory of proportions and of the science of motion in the characteristic form of the Calculatory tradition. Besides some interesting criticism of contemporary physical theories, this work is also relevant from the point of view of mathematics since Thomas achieves some considerable results in the study of infinite series. Recent scholarship has highlighted ever more the impact of Thomas' work on early modern science.

His only known book was published in 1509, exactly 500 years ago, under the title "Book on the three [kinds of] movement, with added [treatise on] ratios, by Master Alvarus Thomas of Lisbon, Explaining in Part Swineshead's Philosophical [i.e. Physical] Calculations" (Liber de triplici motu proportionibus annexis magistri Alvari Thomae Ulixbonensis philosophicas Suiseth calculationes ex parte declarans).


One-day Workshop

Monday, 28th September

Building C1
Floor 3
Auditório da FFCUL
(Fundação da Faculdade de Ciências)

Faculdade de Ciências
University of Lisbon
Campo Grande.


Entrance is free.

> H.Leitão
> S.Gessner

> M.Eloy

> samuel.gessner(at)gmail.com


> More on Alvarus Thomas

  • 9:30 Welcome
    Samuel Gessner and Henrique Leitão
  • 10:00
    Putting Alvarus Thomas on the map

    Henrique Leitão (CIUHCT/Universidade de Lisboa)
  • 10:45
    Alvarus Thomas as a missing link between scholastic and early modern science: The case of Thomas Harriot's work on motion

    Matthias Schemmel (Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin)
  • 11:30 Coffee break
  • 12:00
    Liber de triplici motu: The transformation of a text
    Stefan Paul Trzeciok (Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin)
  • 12:45 Discussion
  • 13:00 Lunch break

  • 14:30
    Les réponses d'Alvarus Thomas aux questions que pose la théorie des rapports au Moyen Âge
    Sabine Rommevaux (CNRS, Centre d'études supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours)
  • 15:15
    Alvarus Thomas and the summation of series
    Carlos Correia de Sá (Departamento de Matemática Pura da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto e Centro de Matemática da Universidade do Porto)
  • 16:00 Coffee break
  • 16:30
    Understanding Alvarus Thomas in 1914 and today: lessons from a reading of Wieleitner's study of the Liber de triplici motu
    Samuel Gessner (CIUHCT/Universidade de Lisboa)
  • 17:15 Final discussion
  • 17:30 Conclusion

Frontispice (type 1), black and red print, of Liber de triplici motus, Paris, 1509

Alternative frontispice (type 2) of Liber de triplici motus, Paris, 1509









  Última actualização 18-09-09