Italian Masters: Leonardo da Vinci – Artist, Engineer, Scientist

2018-02-20T13:14:29+00:00

Figure 1: Leonardo da Vinci, by Francesco Melzi Over the course of this blog series, I have written about a number of Italian Masters of science and engineering, from astronomers like Galileo and Cassini to physicists like Torricelli and Venturi.  I’ve saved the best for last, however: Leonardo da Vinci.  He is the quintessential renaissance man who fits both our running definition of “Italian Master” as well as being included in the standard list of Masters with Rafael, Donatello and Michelangelo  Leonardo’s incredibly broad array of talents and interests have long been the subjects of movies, books, TV shows, and, of late, video games.  Throughout his life, he had one hand in the arts, ranging from painting, sculpting, music, history, and literature, [...]

Italian Masters: Leonardo da Vinci – Artist, Engineer, Scientist 2018-02-20T13:14:29+00:00

Italian Masters: Volta Jump-Starts Electrical Engineering

2018-02-21T10:28:40+00:00

Italian Masters: Volta Jump-Starts Electrical EngineeringFigure 1: Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576) Welcome back to our series on Italian Masters of math and science.  Last week I wrote about Galileo’s extensive accomplishments both in the field of astronomy and beyond.  This week, I’ll take a look at another renaissance polymath who dabbled in astronomy, along with his work in mathematics, medicine, biology, chemistry, philosophy, and gambling (yes, seriously): Girolamo Cardano.  Cardano is a less well-known figure than Galileo or some of the other scientists I’ve written about who have famous equations or units of measurement named after them, like Volta or Torricelli.  He is regarded as one of the greatest mathematicians of his age, however, and made a great many contributions to science, [...]

Italian Masters: Volta Jump-Starts Electrical Engineering 2018-02-21T10:28:40+00:00

Italian Masters: Galileo’s Stellar Science and Engineering

2018-02-21T10:55:17+00:00

Portrait of Galileo Galilei Justus Sustermans [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons I’d like to return to our previous series on the Italian Masters, focused not on the usual masters or painting and sculpture but on the masters or science, mathematics, and engineering.  So far in the series I’ve written about the accomplishments of Volta, Cassini, Venturi and Torricelli.  Today, I’d like to look at one of the greats: Galileo Galilei.  Galileo is most famous today for standing up for heliocentrism against the Catholic Church and spending the last years of his life under house arrest as punishment.  However, Galileo didn’t let controversies or confinement stop him, and accomplished a great amount of research in not only [...]

Italian Masters: Galileo’s Stellar Science and Engineering 2018-02-21T10:55:17+00:00

Italian Masters: Volta Jump-Starts Electrical Engineering

2017-11-07T16:51:43+00:00

Figure 1: Allesandro Volta We’ve been taking a break from hard-hitting mechanical engineering and materials science blogs with some pieces on the Italian masters of science, mathematics and engineering in the 16-19th centuries.  I’ve previously explored the lives and contributions of Evangelista Torricelli, Giovanni Venturi and Giovanni Cassini.  For this blog, I’m focusing on Alessandro Volta, who helped revolutionize our understanding of electricity and electrochemstry it in the late 18th century.  […]

Italian Masters: Volta Jump-Starts Electrical Engineering 2017-11-07T16:51:43+00:00

Italian Masters: Cassini – Expert Engineer and Astronomer

2017-05-03T14:34:35+00:00

Figure 1: Giovanni Domenico Cassini We’ve been taking a break from hard-hitting mechanical engineering and materials science blogs with some pieces on the Italian masters of science, mathematics and engineering in the 16-19th centuries.  In previous blogs, I explored the lives and contributions of mathematician/physicist Evangelista Torricelli and physicist/engineer Giovanni Venturi.  For this blog, I'm focusing on Giovanni Domenico Cassini (Figure 1), a structural engineer and astronomer extraordinaire in the late 17th century.  Cassini started small, studying astrology (not astronomy!) early on in his career, but his fascination with the actual scientific properties of our celestial neighbors and his lifelong dedication to watching the night sky led him to a number of great discoveries. Giovanni Domenico Cassini (1625-1712) Giovanni Domenico Cassini [...]

Italian Masters: Cassini – Expert Engineer and Astronomer 2017-05-03T14:34:35+00:00

Italian Masters: Venturi and the Venturi Effect

2017-05-03T14:48:59+00:00

Figure 1: Giovanni Battista Venturi [i] Glew's News is doing a short series highlighting the lives and accomplishments of the Italian Masters of science, engineering, and mathematics.  In the last blog, I wrote about Evangelista Torricelli, a mathematician and physicist from the 17th century.  In this blog, I'm focusing on Giovanni Venturi (Figure 1), an accomplished physicist, hydrodynamicist and engineer. Giovanni Battista Venturi (1746-1822) Giovanni Venturi was born to a wealthy family in Reggio, Italy in 1746.  A talented young student, by the age of 23 the local seminary had already ordained him as a priest and professor.  His talents in mathematics didn’t long escape notice at the nearby University of Modena, which appointed him as a professor of geometry and [...]

Italian Masters: Venturi and the Venturi Effect 2017-05-03T14:48:59+00:00

Italian Masters: Torricelli and Barometric Pressure Measurement

2017-11-12T00:37:30+00:00

Figure 1: Evangelista Torricelli Most people are familiar with the works of the “Italian Masters”… artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael.  But Italy has a storied history of masters of other fields, especially mathematics, science and engineering.  In this blog series, we’ll take a look at a few of the influential renaissance men from The Boot who helped advance the fields of physics, chemistry, electricity, geometry, and more.  These are the multi-talented renaissance men who tackled so many of the problems that now form the backbone of modern science, engineering, and technology. For this blog, I'll focus on Evangelista Torricelli (Figure 1), a 17th century mathematician, physicist.  Torricelli was a contemporary of Galileo Galilei, and in fact carried on [...]

Italian Masters: Torricelli and Barometric Pressure Measurement 2017-11-12T00:37:30+00:00