Institute and Museum of History of Science, Florence, ITALY

                      The main characters                   
Valeriano Magni (1586-1661) Emanuel Maignan (1601-1676) Marin Mersenne (1588-1648)

Born at Toulouse, into an influential local family, he took his vows young, entering, in 1619, the Minim order. From 1636 to 1650, Maignan taught philosophy and theology at Rome, in the Minim house at Pincio. His contact with the Roman scientific scene dates back to these years. He was in close touch with Gasparo Berti, Raffaello Magiotti and Athanasius Kircher. Their scientific discourse was particularly important for replicating experiments which had already been performed and determining the existence of the vacuum, which had an important influence on the parallel discoveries of Torricelli.
The research interests of the French Minim went well beyond pneumatics, into the fields of optics and instrumentation, to which he dedicated an essential book, the Perspectiva horaria (1648), which contains detailed examinations of the theoretical and practical questions pertaining to the meridian. Maignan's main interest in his investigation of the physical world is well expressed in his Cursus philosophicus (1653) a textbook made mainly for his Order's schools, which deals mainly with the analysis of natural philosophical problems. While remaining firmly rooted in the context of traditional aristotelian and scholastic philosophy, Maignan's work brings together some of the suppositions developed by the protagonists of the scientific revolution, putting a special emphasis on experimental research as a source of new, and more certain, knowledge.





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