Evangelista Torricelli (1608-1647)

Evangelista Torricelli

1608 Evangelista Torricelli was born on the 15 October, in Faenza, Province of Ravenna, Italy.[1] He was an Italian physicist and mathematician, best known for his invention of the barometer.[2] He studied firstly in his native town.

1628 When he was 20 years old he was sent to Rome to attend Benoit Castelli’s lessons, Galileo’s disciple. Soon, because of intellectual abilities and interest he had to study Physics, he became the friend and confident of his teacher who he put in touch with Galileo himself.

His first work, which was typed in 1644, was related to parabolic motion of projectiles. The manuscript was sent to Galileo who appreciated it and since that moment granted best regards to young savant, showing his desire to have Torricelli among his collaborators. But Torricelli met the famous scholar much later, when he enjoyed Galileo’s society for three months.

The age when the important law of liquid flow at different height was discovered is unknown. It was published only in 1644. Barometer invention’s origin is better known. Well sinkers in Florence, wanting to install a vacuum pump in order to raise water to a height exceeding 32 feet, did not make it work and at that moment Galileo was asked; he, somewhat puzzling, answered at a venture that “nature does not abhor a vacuum only up to 32 feet”. At that time Galileo was close to the end of his life and even if he knew a lot about air weight, as it can be seen within his “Dialogues”, gave to Torricelli the task to solve this problem.

1643 This year (Galileo had died), Torricelli, suspecting that the force which sustains the water above the level of a spring into vacuum pump tube is the air weight which pushes on the spring surface, imagined the experiment repeating with a liquid heavier than water in order to see if the slope would be smaller than in water’s case. He used mercury for this; he filled with mercury a long glass tube of about one meter and overturned it into a vessel with mercury and so was made the first barometer and the problem transmitted by Galileo was solved.[1]

1647 Torricelli died in Florence on 25 October, a few days after having contracted typhoid fever, and was buried at the Basilica of San Lorenzo. The asteroid 7437 Torricelli was named in his honor. He left all his belongings to his adopted son Alexander.[2] His premature death hindered him to give to science all he was able to.[1]




    1. Evangelista Torricelli (1608-1647), ro.biography.name
    2. Evangelista Torricelli, en.wikipedia.org - accessed on 22.09.2013


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