If modern physics got its start in the Scientific Revolution, and the Scientific Revolution sprung from Newton's ideas, and Newton's ideas marinated in Gallileo's theories, and Gallileo's theories generated from Dante's Inferno, then, yep, Dante is the father of modern physics. Also the father of modern physics? Kevin Bacon. The Boston Globe has the story (of Dante, not Kevin Bacon):

The insights Galileo gleaned from analyzing Dante’s measurements in fact anticipated a vital principle of structural engineering. By asserting that you cannot create a giant Lucifer by super-sizing the model of a man — that increasing an object’s magnitude would create a whole new set of structural and material imperatives — Galileo was paving the way for the construction of everything from ocean liners to skyscrapers to Macy’s parade floats.

Read the whole shebang here.

Originally Published: January 18th, 2011