Institute and Museum of History of Science, Florence, ITALY

                      The main characters                   
Jean Rey (1582-ca. 1645) Michelangelo Ricci (1619-1682) Gilles Personne Roberval (1610-1675)

Letter from Evangelista Torricelli to Michelangelo Ricci, 11th June, 1644



A pupil of Benedetto Castelli in Roma, he performed a remarkable role as the Roman point of reference for the developments of the Galileian School. He was nominated Cardinal in 1681. He was in very close contact first with Torricelli, then with Viviani and Leopoldo de' Medici, actively participating, albeit by letter, in the activities of the Accademia del Cimento. He repeatedly intervened to prevent the threatening attempts at censorship on the part of Church authorities of the figures of the new scientific ideas. He was a fine mathematician, as is seen in the only work he published, the Geometrica exercitatio (Roma 1666) and his intense epistolary exchanges with Torricelli.
Ricci had a prime role in the theoretical and experimental debates which preceded and accompanied the torricellian discovery of air-pressure. In addition to participating in some experiments held in Rome by Gasparo Berti, he was the addressee of the only two documents (the letters from 11th and 28th June, 1644) in which Torricelli described his barometric experiments, explaining the role of air-pressure as the cause of the suspension of mercury in the tube.





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