FLORENCE in the quattrocento calls forth associations that have little enough to do with a fairly specialized branch in the history of science. The memories it evokes are of the unfolding of early Renaissance art; the flourishing of humanist studies; the cult of Plato; a setting of lovely churches and palazzi capped by Brunelleschi's cupola—one of the rare moments in history, in short, when a city rose to the heights of the enjoyment of living, amidst the loveliness of the Tuscan hills.