Benedetto Castelli

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Benedetto Castelli.
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Benedetto Castelli (* 1577 (or 1578 ) in Brescia as Antonio Castelli ; † April 9, 1643 in Rome ) was an Italian natural scientist .

Antonio was the eldest of the eight children of Annibale Castelli from a noble Brescian family and Alda Tiberi. Three of his brothers were killed in a brawl, the youngest brother Quinto was first banished from the Republic of Venice for various offenses and later sentenced to seven years in prison. Antonio became a Benedictine monk in SS. Faustino e Giovita of Brescia in 1595 as Benedictus de Brixia . Before 1604 he was transferred to Padua, where he was able to continue his mathematical studies with Galileo Galilei at the University of Padua . Since Galileo, as a friend of the abbot of Santa Giustina and a neighbor of the monastery, maintained lively intercourse with the monks, a friendship developed from the relationship between teacher and student. In 1611 Benedetto followed Galilei to Florence , where he gave private lessons for nobles and members of the Medici family. In 1613, on Galileo's recommendation, he was able to take over a professorship for mathematics at the University of Pisa as the successor to the late Antonio Santucci , where he not only read about Euclid or the Almagest , but also about Galileo's writings such as the Compasso geometrico e militare .

As early as 1624 he was sent to the Po Valley by Pope Urban VIII to prepare measures to regulate the river. In 1626 the Pope appointed him to the Papal University of La Sapienza . Castelli also worked as the tutor of the Pope's nephew Taddeo Barberini. In 1632 he became abbot of a monastery (later he is said to have held four such posts at the same time).

Castelli was one of Galileo's closest confidants; he wrote at least one letter of defense for him and was liaison during the proceedings against him. A device for the safe observation of sunspots goes back to him, which was probably already developed during the years together in Padua.

In 1639/40 he wrote a treatise on magnetic iron stone .

Castelli was the teacher of Giovanni Alfonso Borelli , Bonaventura Cavalieri and Evangelista Torricelli .


  • Piero E. Ariotti: Benedetto Castelli's Discourse on the loadstone (1639-1640): the origin of the notion of elementary magnets similarly aligned ; In: Annals of Science , 1464-505X, Volume 38, Issue 2, 1981, Pages 125-140
  • Augusto De Ferrari:  CASTELLI, Benedetto (al secolo, Antonio). In: Alberto M. Ghisalberti (Ed.): Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (DBI). Volume 27:  Collenuccio – Confortini. Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, Rome 1982.

Individual evidence

  1. Francesco Trevisani: Borelli, Giovanni Alfonso , in: Wolfgang U. Eckart and Christoph Gradmann (eds.): Ärztelexikon. From antiquity to the present , 3rd edition 2006 Springer Verlag Heidelberg, Berlin, New York p. 58. doi : 10.1007 / 978-3-540-29585-3 .

Web links

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