Institute and Museum of the History of Science, Florence, ITALY

Annali di Storia della Scienza

Issues from 1996


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Anno XI, 1996, fasc. 2

M. MINIATI, A distanza di trent'anni. pag.501
W. R. SHEA, The Revelations of the Telescope. pag.507

G. BARONCINI, Note sull'illustrazione scientifica.
Through the history of the book and the image at the time of the invention of the printing press, this study seeks to clarify the ambiguous situation of the scientific illustration, the reasons for the difficulty in recognizing it as an internal element of scientific discourse as language that is autonomous, competitive and in certain cases stronger than verbal language.
This study also investigates an iconoclastic current within scientific inquiry. This tradition permits the identification of a common historical misunderstanding: the false equating of observation and experimentation, on the one hand, and the collocation of research to graphic representation on the other. Finally, the article proposes the application of the interpretation proposed by Panofsky in the past thirty years to the study of the scientific illustration.


F. GIUDICE, Teoria della luce e struttura della materia nello Short Tract on First Principles di Thomas Hobbes.
The aim of this essay is to analyze the theory of light and matter contained in the first of Hobbes' philosophical works, the Short Tract, dated back to about 1630-31. In this little treatise, concerned with laying the general foundations for a mechanistic conception of reality, Hobbes adopts an emissionistic theory and refuses to appeal to motion transmission through a medium. Although a theory of emission turns the physical reality of light into a motion of material particles spread from a bright source to the observer, there's no atomistic conception in the Short Tract.
The relevance of this pamphlet among Hobbes' works lies in it being the first theoretical model created by Hobbes to explain luminous phenomena. But this model lasted for a very short time and, in 1636, it was replaced by a theory of the medium.


G. PARETI, Giulio Bizzozero e la funzione ematopoietica del midollo osseo.
The essay aims at bringing to light a minor but interesting chapter in the history of medicine between the 19th and the 20th centuries. The Italian G. Bizzozero and the German E. Neumann were enquiring into the function of the bone marrow as a haemopoietic organ, and were drawn into a fierce priority dispute. Though Bizzozero's name is traditionally linked to the discovery of platelets, his investigation into the seedbed of blood corpuscles is also relevant in the context of the development of haematology. This scientific controversy also explains the complicated relations between the different elements of the blood, in normal and pathological states.


M. BUCCI, La scienza e i mass media: la «fusione fredda» nei quotidiani italiani.
The cold fusion case has been portrayed by several observers as an example of pathological science and in particular of the pathological relationship between science and the media. The article addresses this contention critically. Cold fusion has not just been a case of misrepresentation or sensationalization of science by the media.
A richer and more complex role of the media is to be acknowledged, since a considerable part (namely, the first phase) of the controversy was actually played out within the public arena. In such a case the contribution of this communicative level to the shaping of a scientific issue cannot be underestimated and should not be simply conceptualized in terms of an additive operation (a charge of emphasis and distortion) as it is traditionally maintained).


A. LUALDI, François de Baillou, un ottico della Milano teresiana.
A study of the activity of the XVIII century Milanese optician François De Baillou and his family has been carried out. His ancestors migrated from France possibly at the beginning of that century. He became the most esteemed optician of his times in the duchy of Milan and he obtained in 1750 the title of «regio Cesareo Ottico» from Mary Therese of Austria. He had a brother, Giovanni (dead ante 1763) who worked first for the Duke Farnese in Parma and then in Florence for the Granduke Gian Gastone de' Medici. François had a son, Giacomo, who was also optician in Milan and obtained the same title as his father in 1775. He continued to work after his father's death in 1774. A brief survey of other components of the family is given.
Working mostly as a spectacle-maker he made a variety of optical instruments; they were largely advertised on dedicated trade-brochures. Here some microscopes and telescopes are analitically listed together with an account of their technical characteristics.


Per un archivio della corrispondenza degli scienziati italiani:

R. GATTO, Il cannocchiale Amici dell'Osservatorio astronomico di Capodimonte e la corrispondenza Amici-Zuccari.

Istituzioni e fonti:

Commission on Bibliography and Documentation of the IUHPS.

Discussioni critiche:
G. DI PASQUALE - V. MARCHIS, Alcune considerazioni sul pes romanus. pag.669
G. NONNOI, Il caso Galileo. Una proposta di ricomposizione. pag.677

M. CIARDI, Dalla cronaca al continuismo. Pierre Duhem e la nascita della storia della scienza moderna.

Nova Media

A. LENZI - F. GUIDI, La collezione Landmarks of science all'Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza.

Recensioni pag.705
Schede pag.765
Attività di ricerca pag.815
Dai lettori pag.819
Indici (Anno XI, 1996) pag.823
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Anno XI, 1996, fasc. 1

L. PEPE, Il Collège de France durante la rivoluzione francese. Due memorie apologetiche.
The Collège de France (Collège Royal), founded by François I in 1530 was unable to be completely independent from the University. However Louis XV in 1772 added this to the Colleges of the University and erected his building in Place Cambrai. Only during the French revolution the Collège de France became completely independent through the suppression, in 1793, of the other educational Institutions. The same Collège was seriously threatened by suppression as documented in the memoirs of Garnier and Lalande. These memoirs are now fully published also for their epistemological interest.


D. KNIGHT, Science and Culture in mid-Victorian Britain: the Reviews, and William Crookes' Quarterly Journal of Science.
Charles Darwin's Origin of Species was published in 1859, and we are often disposed to see it as marking an epoch in the struggle between religion and science. Recent analyses especially of the part played by T. H. Huxley, 'Darwin's bulldog', emphasise instead (or as well) Huxley's aim to exclude affable 'gentleman of science' from what was becoming a profession for experts. Evidence from the Reviews of the period show that science accounted for some 10% of the articles; but also that demand for this very general literature was falling, as science and humanities indeed grew apart into what C. P. Snow later called 'two cultures'.


C. MORABITO, Le localizzazioni cerebrali di David Ferrier, fra indagini sperimentali e applicazioni alla clinica.
This article starts with the description of a medical case: the removal of a brain tumor carried out in 1886 in London at the National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic. This medical case is recorded in the Casebooks that today can be found in the archive of the hospital.
Firstly, there is the description of the patient's state of health and of the intracranical surgery performed by Victor Horsley who referred himself to David Ferrier's cortical maps. Secondly, there is the reconstruction of the theoretical path that led Ferrier, in the 1870s, to prove on an experimental basis the existence of different localised cerebral functions in specific cortical areas.
These cerebral localizations are then compared with the model that, at the beginning of the century, contained their first theoretical seed: the Organology of Franz Joseph Gall.


P. DEL SANTO - G. STRANO, Observational evidence and the evolution of Ptolemy's lunar model.
In this article we analyze the classical method introduced by Hipparchus for the determination of the radius of the lunar epicycle based on the observation of triads of eclipses. We also consider the methods and procedures by which Ptolemy was led to the definitive form of his lunar model. Our research suggests the need for new considerations of the origin and significance of the prosneusis, traditionally regarded as a wholly unsatisfactory device, and demonstrates the limits of the traditional historiographical approach to the question.


G. PATERNOSTER - R. RINZIVILLO - E. SCHETTINO, Studio di una lente per cannocchiale di grandi dimensioni lavorata da Evangelista Torricelli.
The Museum of the Department of Physical Science at the University of Naples holds a large telescope lens, work of Evangelista Torricelli. This lens which probably reached Naples in the first half of XVIII Century was forgotten until it was catalogued and placed with the other scientific instruments in the museum in 1984.
The authors update the optic measure of the Torricelli lens taken by Gilberto Govi in 1886 and determine the composition of the lens glass by the fluorescence revealed from X-rays. On the basis of an analysis of correspondence by Torricelli they conclude that this is one of the two lenses which the scientist wrote to the gesuit Raffaello Prodanelli from Rome on October 14, 1645.


P. BRENNI, Nota su alcuni strumenti recentemente acquisiti dalla Fondazione Scienza e Tecnica.
The collection of the 19th century physics instruments of the Istituto Tecnico Toscano in Florence, which is nowadays preserved by the Fondazione Scienza e Tecnica, is one of the largest and more complete in Europe. For this reason it can be considered a «closed» collection. Nevertheless in the last years a few specific instruments were acquired by the Fondazione in order to fill some gaps in the various sections of the collection. This article describe these instruments, which are not mentioned in the printed catalogues.

Per un archivio della corrispondenza degli scienziati italiani:

L. CARBONE - P. NASTASI - F. PALLADINO, I carteggi Torelli-Cesàro, Landau-Cesàro, Cipolla-Cesàro e alcune questioni connesse.

Istituzioni e fonti:

S. COLLINI - A. VANNONI, La Société d'histoire naturelle e il viaggio di D'Entrecasteaux alla ricerca di La Pérouse: le istruzioni scientifiche per i viaggiatori. II. Documenti inediti di L. C. M. Richard, Lezerme e A. F. Fourcroy.


P. GUARNIERI, Per una storia delle scienze dell'infanzia: le fonti dell'Istituto degli Innocenti di Firenze.

Commission on Bibliography and Documentation of the IUHPS. pag.309
R. G. MAZZOLINI, Frank W. P. Dougherty (1952-1994) pag.315
Discussioni critiche:

A. TOUWAIDE, Historical Drug Research. Réflexion pour une épistémologie de la recherche sur l'histoire du médicament ancien.


M. CONFORTI, Sidereus Nuncius & Stella Polaris. The Scientific Relations between Italy and Sweden in Early Modern History.

Recensioni pag.343
Schede pag.421
Attività di ricerca pag.469


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Last update: 04-Feb-2003