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

Annali di Storia della Scienza

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Anno XII, 1997, fasc. 2

Letture galileiane
P. REDONDI, I fondamenti metafisici della fisica di Galileo pag.267
M. REES, Stars, Life and the Cosmos pag.291


M. BUCCIANTINI, A Difficult Legacy: Galileo and the Galilean Collection Between Myth and History
The principal aim of this article is to reveal  the political and cultural significance of the constitution of the Galilean Collection as part of a battle to rehabilitate Galileo as a Copernican philosopher and scientist. Just after his death, the project of constituting and enriching the Galilean Collection was immediately engulfed by a large project of redemption and rehabiltation of the heretical scientist. During the following centuries, this project became interwined whit the many Galileo «myths» that pervade the civil and cultural life of our country, until the construction at the end of the nineteenth century of the perpetual "monument" to italian culture represented by the publication of the «Edizione Nazionale» edited by Antonio Favaro.


M. J. RATCLIFF - M. L. BUSCAGLIA, Chercheur, observateur et Monde savant au XVIIIe siècle: la recherche scientifique dans l'immaginaire de Charle Bonnet
This article analyses the history of the term «chercheur» from the seventeenth century until the beginning of the twentieth century, focusing, in particular, on the work of the naturalist and philosopher Charles Bonnet (1720-1793) and on reserch traditions related to the life scinces. Although the term was initially used in a pejorative sense, to describe an English Puritanical sect, it came to assume its modern meaning through a series of transformations.


M. CAVAZZA, La ricezione della teoria halleriana dell'irritabilità nell'Accademia dele Scienze di Bologna
In Italy, the physiological theories of Albrecht von Haller, based on the thesis of the indipendence of the property of irritability, characteristic of muscles, from sensivity, characteristic of nerves, and on a refutation of the traditional iatro-mechanical axplanation of muscular motion, found numerous supporters and just as many opponents. This grave rise to a heated polemic, which involved numerius physicians, physicists and philosopher. The principal site for this polemic, most acute between 1756 and 1760, was Bologna, a city where the influence of  Malpighian iatromechanics was still very strogly felt, but also where Haller's two most ardent supporters, Marc'Antonio Caldani and Felice Fontana, were active. The present study proposes to analyse the reactions of scientific circles in Bologna to this debate, especially for the case of the local Academy of Sciences, and to replace them in the context of the continuing dialectic brtween innovation and tradition that characterised the city.


G. BRUZZANITI, A Historiographic Model of the Dynamics of Scientific Theories and the Formation of Concepts: The Case of the Atomic Nucleus
A particular historiographic model to axplain certain aspects of the formation of scientific concepts and the dynamics of theories is proposed. The principal characteristic of this model consists of the possibility of organising documentary material in two differents «maps»: a «local» and a « global» one. The process of formation of scientific concepts and the change of their meaning is due to the dynamics and interaction of these «maps». The model is utilized to analyse the case of atomic nucleus.


G. BRUSA - J. H. LEOPOLD, The Vertical Stackfreed. Mechanical Evidence and Early Eye-Witnesses
This paper discusses two italian renaissance clocks, which employ a very rare contrivance to equalize the force of the mainspring. It is called the "vertical stackfreed" and may be considered the elder brother of the better known conventional stackfreed, common in German watches after 1540. The invention goes back to the 15th century. Surprisingly clear and consistent evidence has come to light from such eminent eye-witnesses as Leonardo da Vinci, Girolamo Cardano and Taqi al Din about this little known but significant developement.


G. PATERNOSTER - R. RINZIVILLO - E. SCHETTINO, Nota su una lente per cannocchiale firmata «Domenico Selva»
The authors measure the optical properties of an objective lens for a telescope, signed «Domenico Selv» and recently discovered in the teaching laboratoires of the Department of Physical Sciences of the University of Naples. They determine the composition of the glass by means of the technique of X-ray fluorescence. The lens was probably made during the first half of the eighteenth century by Domenico Selva or by his son Lorenzo.

Per un archivio della corrispondenza degli scienziati italiani

F. BARBIERI - F. CATTELANI DEGANI, Tre lettere di Geminiano Montanari a Gian Domenico Cassini
Here are been transcribed three letters sended by Geminiano Montanari to Gian Domenico Cassini. The first two, written in 1699, deal with his experiments with different types of tempered glass and whit the «tears» or «gocciole e vermicelli di vetro che rotti in qualunque parte si stritolano d'un subito in minuta polvere». The third, dated 1673, regards mainly the inspections made by Montanari on the S. Petronio sundial in Bologna.


R. GATTO - L. CARBONE, Il carteggio di Fondo Siacci della Biblioteca del Dipartimento di Matematica «Renato Caccioppoli» dell'Università «Federico II» di Napoli
We present here the letters of the "Fondo Siacci" which was found recently while reorganising some papers from the old seat of the library at the Department of Mathematics "Renato Caccioppoli" of the University "Federico II" of Naples, in Via Mezzocannone 8.
Grancing at these letters we discovered their interest to reconstruct various historical events of italian mathematics life in the 2nd half of thee 19th century.

Istituzioni e fondi

M. CIARDI, Men of letters and science. The case of Xavier de Maistre
Science and literature have always been related in many differnt ways. Everybody knows that the separation between the so-called  «two cultures» is a product of recent times. So it is not surprisimg to find renowned writers or poets actively involved with scientific researches. This paper analyses the casa of Xavier de Maistre, author of the famous Voyage autour de ma chambre.


Discussioni critiche
F. GIUDICE, Thomas Hobbes and the Atomism: A Reappraisal pag.471

V. TROMBETTA, Le scienze in biblioteca. Il VII Congresso degli Scienziati Italiani


R. URBANI, L'uomo e la macchina. Un Congresso di trent'anni fa


Nova Media

M. BERNI - L. BARATTIN, Il Museo di Storia della Scienza di Firenze su Internet


Schede pag.617

Attività di ricerca
M. J. GORMAN, The Correspondence of Athanasius Kircher pag.651
Back to contents  

Anno XII, 1997, fasc. 1

J. CHABÁS, Le cahier d'astronomie d'un croisier du XVe siècle.
Manuscript 354C of the University of Liege is an astronomical notebook, most probably put together between 1423 and 1430. It contains treatises and astronomical tables, lists of numerical data, numerous astrological squares and notes on various astronomical problems. The author of the notebook is an astronomical practitioner, a «croisier» at the Convent of Huy (Liege) who, in his notebook, allows his interests, the problems that he considered and the methods used to tackle them to be seen.


M. BERETTA, Humanism and Chemistry: The Spread of Georgius Agricola's Metallurgical Writings.
The essay examines the influence of Agricola's mineralogical and metallurgical work on 17th and 18th century chemistry. The reason of such influence are both theoretical and experimental. Agricola's «humanistic» reform of technical nomenclature and his criticism of alchemy marked the emergence of a new way of conceiving the disciplinary status of chemistry. Similarly, the importance of Agricola's chemical analysis of inorganic substances and of the introduction of new instruments and technical devices represents one of the principal sources of 18th century chemists, namely Stahl and Lavoisier. The combination of these two aspects contributed to establish the success of Agricola's work among the most innovative early modern chemists.


O. HANNAWAY, Reading the Pictures: The Context of Georgius Agricola's Woodcuts.
The woodcuts in Georgius Agricola's De re metallica (1556) are frequently reproduced as illustrations of mining techniques and practices in the 1500s. But there is more to be read in these pictures. They are indicative of important transformations in the world of mining and its impact on society at large. The examination of three other paintings helps draw a portrait of the sixteenth-century world in which Agricola and his woodcutters produced their great work.


A. BORRELLI, Dall'innesto del vaiolo alla vaccinazione jenneriana: il dibattito scientifico napoletano.
This article attempts to reconstruct the different stages in the Neapolitan discussion about the inoculation of variola and the Jennerian vaccination. The contribution of A. Genovesi, F. Galiani and D. Cotugno, and the arrival in Naples of A. Gatti in the seventies, were decisive for these developments. If the inoculation was somewhat delayed, compared with other parts of Italy in which it had previously been successful, the case was different for the vaccination, which was accepted and rapidly encouraged by the Bourbon government. In the mid-eighteenth century, Naples became the model for «a correct politics of vaccination all over Europe».


G. L'E. TURNER, An Astrolabe belonging to Galileo?
An unexceptional German astrolabe of 1537 (IC 262) has two curious features that could make it a striking document connected with Galileo Galilei, one of the world's greatest natural philosophers. The facts are straightforward. Having stated them, I then offer reasoned speculation, which others may develop or try to refute, to show that the astrolabe was modified in Florence and was owned by Galileo in the 1580s.


P. TODESCO, Il micrometro filare di Giacomo Lusverg (anno 1677).
The wire eyepiece micrometer made by Jacob Lusverg (1636-1689) dated 1677, was found in the seminary of Treviso in 1991. An original contribution on Jacob Lusverg's biography is given from unpublished documents. In this paper the structure and the operating use of the micrometer is described. The micrometer was restored in the laboratory of the Museum of Phisics in Bologna by A. Grilli. It is also described the small telescope, whose objective glass is signed Domenico Selva. This item was recently used by M. Toulmonde, in the Observatory of Paris, in order to repeat a series of historical measures of the Sun's diameter, made by A. Azout in the XVII Century.


Per un archivio della corrispondenza degli scienziati italiani:

M. SEGRE, Le lettere di Giuseppe Peano a Felix Klein.

Istituzioni e fonti:

G. RAMBALDI, «Stromenti e macchine» di fisica in un documento del 1785.

Commission on Bibliography and Documentation of the IUHPS.
K. D. WATSON, Sources for the History of Science in Oxford.
Discussioni critiche:

S. CASATI, Convegno di studi: Scienza, tecnica e «pubblico bene» nell'opera di Giovanni Arduino (1714-1795).

M. SEGALA, Ampère filosofo. pag.145
Recensioni pag.161
Schede pag.221
Attività di ricerca

F. ANDREINI, Il progetto «Ca. Fo. S.». Catalogo dei Fondi Scientifici toscani.



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Last update: 04-Feb-2003