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

Annali di Storia della Scienza

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Anno XVI, 2002, fasc. 2

The Galilean Lectures  

M. TORRINI, La natura della nuova scienza.


V. CASTELLANI, L'astrofisica stellare




AD MESKENS, Some new biographical data about Michiel Coignet
The correspondence of the Jesuit John Hay with Christopher Clavius reveals some interesting details of the life and work of the Antwerpen instrument maker Michiel Coignet.


Y. ZIK, Galileo and Optical Aberrations
An image-forming system is complex not only because of elements such as tubes, lenses and diaphragms, but also because each element is placed there for a specific function. Magnification should not be the primary factor by which the performance of the refractor telescope is evaluated. Too many nonlinear variables such as field angle, lens quality, light gathering, corrections for the various aberrations, and losses in light transmission through the optical system are also involved in the construction of the telescope. Evidently, an astronomical telescope capable of yielding a reasonable magnified image of a bright star could not have been constructed by chance. In this light it is instructive to see how Galileo described, analyzed and resolved the adverse effects caused by the various optical aberrations while refining his telescope.


F. BÒNOLI, M. MINIATI, V. GRECO, G. MOLESINI, Telescope optics of Montanari, Cellio, Campani and Bruni at the «Museo della Specola» in Bologna
Optics of telescope makers Montanari, Cellio, Campani and Bruni housed at the «Museo della Specola» in Bologna have been tested with state-of-the art equipment. The most significant findings are reported, and insights into the early stages of development of telescope optics are given.

pag. 467

S. TALAS, Thermometers in the eighteenth century: J.B. Micheli du Crest's works and the cooperation with G. F. Brander
In 1741, the Geneva scientist Jacques Barthélémy Micheli du Crest proposed a thermometer that attracted much attention at that time. This paper intends to analyse how Micheli's work contributed to the standardisation of thermometers and to underline the influence of Micheli's ideas on Jean Antoine Nollet and on the so-called «Réaumur thermometers».
The Augsburg instrument-maker Georg Friederich Brander and Micheli are studied through their as of now unpublished correspondence. One of the few surviving thermometers of Micheli's design made by Brander is also examined.

pag. 475

P. BRENNI, 19th Century Scientific Instrument Advertising
The first printed scientific instrument advertisings date back to the late 17th century. Trade cards, simple catalogues, classified advertising were common in the 18th century. However scientific instrument advertising became more sophisticated and aggressive during the 19th century. Instrument makers published large and illustrated trade catalogues, while an increasing number of advertisements appeared in scientific treatises and journals. Furthermore, in the second half of the century universal exhibitions and specialised fairs became the ideal places for displaying industrial products in front of a large audience. At the same time, several makers organised their own showrooms, where they exhibited and demonstrated their apparatus. In this article I illustrate the various forms of instrument advertising during the 19th century and I try to analyse their impact on the scientific instruments trade and on the development of precision industry.

pag. 497

A.M. LOMBARDI, The constitution of white light, a source for the new questions of quantum mechanics
These pages reconstruct a debate that was important at the turn of the twentieth century, regarding the structure of non-monochromatic radiation.
We believe that this discussion had a prevalent role in focusing some questions that were to become characteristic of quantum mechanics. In particular, it is in this context that the physical significance of normal modes - i.e. of every single component of Fourier series - is approached.

Istituzioni e fonti  

D. ARECCO, Scienze naturali e istituzioni in Liguria tra Sette e Ottocento
In the Republic of Genoa, between XVIIIth and XIXth century, the foundation of the University was accompanied by the diffusion of the Enlightenment culture and by the creation of the early scientific academies and literary circles. The most important Ligurian scientists who lived in those years were the Englishman William Batt, Cesare Nicolò Canefri and, most of all, Domenico Viviani, who had all deep interests in medecine and natural history, chemistry and physics. Their interests in collecting nature was always performed under aristocratic patronage.


S. CASATI, Un'importante acquisizione della Biblioteca dell'Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza: la collezione delle tesi di medicina sostenute a Parigi dal 1798 al 1860
The Library of the Institute and Museum of the History of Science of Florence has recently enriched its special Collections with the acquisition of a set medical theses presented and defended in Paris between 1789 and 1860. This extraordinary collection, some 10,000 items, documents the development of the medical sciences in nineteenth century France and Europe.


Scientific Instrument Commission


Spectroscope Histories, Papers based on a workshop organised in collaboration with the IUHPS Scientific Instrument Commission with the support of the Hans-Jenemann Foundation, and hosted by the Deutsches Museum. Munich, 2001. Edited with an Introduction by C. BIGG and K. STAUBERMANN.

pag. 583

Discussioni critiche


P. PARRINI, Filosofia e scienza in Enriques

Recensioni pag.703
The IMSS bookshelf pag.737

Indici (Anno XVII, 2002)

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Anno XVlI, 2002, fasc. 1

S. CASATI, The New Library of the Institute and Museum of History of Science, Florence




F. BELLISSIMA, Il sistema assiomatico-deduttivo degli Elementi armonici di Aristosseno
The aims of the Aristoxenus' Harmonic Elements are very general, and consist in applying Aristotelian Logic and Theory of Science in order to construct an axiomatic theory of music harmony. In our investigation, which concerns the formal aspects of this attempt, we show (without much effort) the extreme fragility of the Aristossenian proofs, but also (and in this consists the most interesting part of our work) the great adequacy of his set of axioms. To obtain the latter result we have constructed a new theory, that we call "Sistema Tetracordale", which employs only these axioms.


A. REYNOLDS, Galileo Galilei and the satirical poem «Contro il portar la toga»: the literary foundations of science
A long poem in the form of a Bernesque capitolo, titled Contro il portar la toga, was written by Galileo Galilei during his sojourn as a professor of mathematics at the University of Pisa, between 1589 and 1592. Commentators have conjectured that, in writing the poem, Galilei sought to express antipathy towards colleagues who earned higher stipends. While there are numerous avenues of interpretation, none is more compelling than reference to the sixteenth-century tradition of poesia bernesca, founded by Galilei’s fellow Tuscan, Francesco Berni (1497?-1535). The capitolo was patently not conceived by its author as a frivolous escapade, of lesser worth than his more ‘serious‘ scientific dialogues. It was a valid experiment in form and philosophy, part of a lifelong search for the foundations of effective communication.


S. CASATI - G. STRANO, Il “Candore lunare”e la difesa del sistema copernicano in due lettere galileiane conservate presso la Biblioteca dell'Istituto e Museo di Storia della scienza di Firenze
The Institute and Museum of History of Science of Florence has recently, through the concession of the Regione Toscana, had renewed access to two important documents relating to Galilieo: the letter sent from Galileo to Francesco Ingoli in response to the Disputatio de situ et quiete Terrae (1624), and the Lettera sul candore lunare (1640) addressed to Prince Leopoldo de' Medici. This circumstance has permitted a new analysis of these documents, in particular the Lettera sul candore lunare, which provides new evidence concerning the astronomical activities of Galileo during his old age.

pag. 63
Per un Archivio della corrispondenza degli scienziati italiani  

E. PROVERBIO, First Supplement to the Provisional Catalogue of R.J. Boscovich letters
Following the Catalogue of the correspondence of R.J. Boscovich we publish here a Supplement to the same Catalogue containing 234 new letters.

pag. 77
D. VERGARI, La corrispondenza di Ottaviano Targioni Tozzetti
Ottaviano Targioni Tozzetti (1755-1829), son of the famous naturalist Giovanni Targioni Tozzetti, was an important figure in the Tuscan scientific scene between the end of the eighteenth century and the first decades of the nineteenth century. Active as a physician in the Florentine Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova, and a member of the Accademia dei Georgofili, Ottaviano Targioni Tozzetti, was interested in chemistry, agriculture and botany and directed the Florentine botanical garden for thirty years.
The inventory of his letters conserved in the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale of Florence, bear witness to the importance and quality of his contact with the Italian and European scientific communities. The study also contributes to a rediscovery the life and the activity of this scientist.

A. MESCHIARI, Corrispondenza di Giovanni Battista Amici con Franz Xaver von Zach
We here publish the correspondence between the Italian optical instrument-maker Giovanni Battista Amici (Modena 1786 - Florence 1863) and the astronomer of Gotha, Baron Franz Xaver von Zach (Pest 1754 - Paris 1832) belonging to the Estense Library in Modena («Fondo Amici» and «Autografoteca Campori»). In the appendix are five other unpublished letters of the Baron to different addressees, among them the Italian astronomers Giuseppe Bianchi and Giovanni Santini.


Istituzioni e fonti

M. BERTINI, Il Trattato di Diversi Istrumenti Matematici di Antonio Santucci
Manuscript C82 in the Biblioteca Murucelliana in Florence contains an unpublished text by Antonio Santucci, cosmographer of the Ferdinando I de' Medici, an outstanding observational astronomer who was particularly famous for his study of comets. The Trattato di Diversi Istrumenti Matematici (1593) of Santucci, commissioned by Ferdinando I, is an essential source for the reconstruction of the Medici scientific collection. In this text the most important mathematical instruments of the sixteenth century are collected and drawn in pen and ink. The magnificent drawings confirm the presence of some important instruments in the collection by 1593 which are now preserved in the Museum of History of Science in Florence.

M. MARANGON, I codici astronomici nel Fondo Cicogna al Museo Correr di Venezia
Here we present the astronomical manuscripts of the Fondo Cicogna of the Museum Correr in Venice, which, for the most part, derive from the Contarini-Tiepolo library.


G.J. MASTROBISI, Il «Manoscritto di Singapore» (1923) di Albert Einstein. Per una teoria del «Campo unificato» tra possibilità fisica e necessità matematica
The «Singapore Manuscript» (1923) from the collection of manuscripts conserved at the «Albert Einstein Archives» in Jerusalem is published here in its entirety for the first time. This manuscript is the first draft of an article by Einstein published in the «Sitzungsberichte» of the German Academy of Sciences in 1923. In January 1923, during his travels in West Asia, while in Singapore, Einstein compared once again the alternative Theories of «Gravitation» and «Unified Field» formulated by Weyl and Eddington to the theoretical unity of his «new» generalized theory.
Einstein's attempt to reaffirm the superiority of his «Theory», however, turned out to be in vain. The issue of the connection between the two fields, the electromagnetic and the gravitational, would become his final area of concentration, especially with respect to the new developments of quantum physics.


Nova Media


G. FERRARI, Census, filing and elaboration of scientific le letters in the earth sciences


P. RUFFO, La Bibliografia Galileiana nell'archivio integrato Galileothek@


A. LENZI, Attività bibliografica dell'Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza: lo spoglio dei periodici

Discussioni critiche  
M. BERETTA, The Material Realm of Chemistry: Immutability vs. History? pag.337

P. GOVONI, Quando la scienza è sensazionale

G. POLIZZI, Una rivoluzione dimenticata. Per una nuova comprensione della scienza ellenistica pag.357
Recensioni pag.367
The IMSS bookshelf pag.391
Announcement pag.401
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