Institute and Museum of History of Science, Florence, ITALY

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More or less empty Accademia del Cimento (1657-1667) Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)

Saggi di naturali esperienze fatte nell'Accademia del Cimento, Florence 1666, frontispiece.

Experiment of smoke in the vacuum.
Saggi di naturali esperienze fatte nell'Accademia del Cimento, Florence 1666



Founded by Prince Leopoldo de’ Medici and the Grand-duke Ferdinando II in 1657, the Academy resolved to test a series of principles of natural philosophy which up till then had been commonly accepted solely on the basis of the authority of Aristotle. They proposed to follow Galileo's example, and use only rigorous experimentation as their guide.
Amongst the members of the Academy, which had no formal system charter, one notes Vincenzo Viviani, Giovanni Alfonso Borelli, Francesco Redi, Carlo Renaldini. The Secretary of the Academy was Lorenzo Magalotti. The Academy met sporadically, and concluded its work in 1667 with the publication of the Saggi di naturali esperienze (Florence, 1667), in which the principal fruits of their experimental labour over the decade of their activity were presented.
The most important results were achieved in the fields of thermometry, barometry, studies on the vacuum and observations concerning Saturn.
The experiments of the Academicians on phenomena linked to air pressure, in particular, played a considerable role in the demolition of the traditional opinion of nature's abhorrence of the void. The experimental demonstrations relevant to pneumatics take up more than forty pages of the Saggi di naturali esperienze: only some of these experiments are absolutely original, while the others replicate experiments either thought up, or performed, by other natural philosophers.




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