Paolo Casati, Vacuum proscriptum disputatio
physica, Genoa 1649, frontispiece

Born in Piacenza in a family originating
in Milan, in 1634, he entered the Society of Jesus. When he had finished
his mathematical and theological studies, he moved to Rome, where
he took on the role of Professor at the Collegio Romano, the Jesuit
university. After teaching philosophy and theology, he was given,
due to his outstanding mathematical ability, the chair in mathematics.
In 1651 he was sent on a mission to Stockholm to gauge Christina of
Sweden's declared intention to become Catholic. Returning to his homeland,
he once again took up his post in Rome, moving then, in 1677, to Parma,
where he remained until his death.
Casati is the author of numerous works of
physics, mathematics and astronomy. In this last discipline, the Terra
machinis mota (1658) has a certain relevance. It dramatises a
dialogue between Galileo, Guldin and Mersenne on various problems
of cosmology, geography, astronomy and geodesy. In the thesis Vacuum
proscriptum, published in Genoa in 1649, the Jesuit from Piacenza
takes up a clear antivacuist position, claiming, when faced with
a barometrictype experiment using a tube full of mercury, that the
void does not exist in nature.
