Institute and Museum of History of Science, Florence, ITALY

                      The main characters                   
Robert Boyle (1627-1691) Paolo Casati (1617-1707) Democritus (5th century B.C.)

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 anti-vacuist position, claiming, when faced with a barometric-type experiment using a tube full of mercury, that the void does not exist in nature.





[ Next | Previous | The main characters | Index | Italiano ]