Since the time of Galileo, the relativity of motion has been a central issue in physics. But how does it apply to light? At the end of the 18th century, a Newtonian theory of the propagation of light, a natural extension of Newton’s Principia, was developed but quickly forgotten. A series of works completed the Principia with the formulation of a Galilean relativistic optics of moving bodies and the discovery of the analog of the Doppler-Fizeau effect some 60 years before Doppler, as well as many other effects and ideas that are a fascinating preamble to Einstein’s special and general relativity.

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