An Italian astronomer, engineer, and physicist, Galileo Galilei is widely regarded as the father of observational astronomy, the father of the scientific method, the father of modern physics, and the father of modern science. He is credited with popularizing the telescope, which changed the course of history.
Joseph Louis Lagrange was an Italian mathematician and astronomer who made significant contributions to the fields of number theory, analysis, and both classical and celestial mechanics. He served as the director of mathematics at the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin for over 20 years. He later moved to France and became a member of the French Academy of Sciences.
Nicholas of Cusa was a German mathematician, astronomer, jurist, theologian, and philosopher. One of the first supporters of Renaissance humanism in Germany, Nicholas of Cusa made significant political and spiritual contributions in European history. He is remembered for his efforts to reform the universal and Roman Church.
Giovanni Schiaparelli made headlines when he discovered the canals of Mars, suggesting the existence of intelligent life forms on the planet. He also discovered the asteroid named Hesperia and was associated with the Brera Observatory in Milan for more than 40 years. He had also been a senator of Italy.
While he matriculated in math and taught the subject later, Giovanni Alfonso Borelli also made pioneering discoveries as a physicist and physiologist. With works such as De Motu Animalium, he revolutionized the field of biomechanics, explaining muscular movements with the help of statics and dynamics.
Italian Theatine priest, astronomer and mathematician Giuseppe Piazzi discovered and identified the first asteroid Ceres at Palermo Astronomical Observatory that he established in Palermo, Sicily. He first demonstrated the large proper motion of the binary star system 61 Cygni in the constellation Cygnus. He also supervised compilation of the Palermo Catalogue of stars and completion of the Capodimonte (Naples) Observatory.
Considered as the most important translator among the Toledo School of Translators, Italian translator Gerard of Cremona translated many major scientific books from Arabic and Greek to Latin. Notable works of Cremona includes translating Aristotle's On the Heavens, Archimedes' On the Measurement of the Circle, al-Khwarizmi's On Algebra and Almucabala, Euclid's Elements of Geometry and most famously Ptolemy's Almagest.
A pioneer in astronomical spectroscopy, Italian Jesuit priest and astronomer Angelo Secchi was among the first scientists who authoritatively stated that the Sun is a star. Notable contributions of Secchi, who served as director of the observatory at the Roman College for nearly three decades, includes discovering three comets and solar spicules; and inventing Secchi disk, heliospectrograph and telespectroscope.
Aloysius Lilius, also known as Luigi Lilio, is best remembered as the main author of the Gregorian Calendar. Well-versed in medicine and astronomy, Lilius hailed from Calabria, Italy, though not much is known about his life. His calendar was presented to Pope Gregory XIII by his brother Antonio.
Recipient of the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, noted Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis is remembered for his discovery of asteroids and contributions in the field of theoretical astronomy. Starting from asteroid Hygiea, which he named Igea Borbonica, Gasparis discovered nine asteroids between 1849 and 1865 and also served as director of the Astronomical Observatory of Capodimonte.
Italian astronomer, microscopist and botanist Giovanni Battista Amici is best-remembered for effecting significant improvements in mirrors of reflecting telescopes and development of microscope. His subjects of studies included the satellites of Jupiter and double stars in astronomy and infusoria and fructification of plants in biology. He invented dipleidoscope and direct vision prism and was the first to discover pollen tubes.
Italian Jesuit, astronomer, and physicist Niccolò Zucchi, who reported spots on Mars, may have been, along with fellow Jesuit Daniello Bartoli, the first who spotted belts on planet Jupiter. Zucchi showed that phosphors generate rather than store light in his book Optica philosophia experimentis et ratione a fundamentis constituta, which includes probably the earliest known elucidation of a reflecting telescope.
Ernst Wilhelm Leberecht Tempel was a German astronomer known for his discovery or co-discovery of numerous comets, including Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. He worked in Marseille for many years before moving to Italy after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. He received the Lalande Prize in 1861 and the Prix Valz in 1880. The main-belt asteroid 3808 Tempel is named after him.
Giovanni Battista Donati was an Italian astronomer considered a pioneer in the spectroscopic study of the stars, the Sun, and comets. He worked in the Observatory of Florence for several years, becoming its director in 1864. He published a memoir in which he discussed the feasibility of a physical classification of the stars. He discovered the spectacular Comet Donati.
Italian physicist, mathematician, and astronomer Paolo Frisi is best remembered for his work on hydraulics, expressed through his books such as A Treatise on Rivers and Torrents. His interpretation of the works of eminent scientists such as Galileo and Newton, too, are considered immensely valuable to the scientific community.
Giuseppe Campani was an Italian optician and astronomer. He was a highly proficient maker of optical instruments and was counted amongst the best in his profession in his time. He made several long-focus lenses for the astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini on the orders of King Louis XIV of France. As an astronomer, Campani made many observations himself.
Domenico Guglielmini is regarded as the pioneer of the Italian school of hydraulics, though he initially worked on astronomy. Apart from being a professor of hydrometry and mathematics, he was also a part-time physician, but eventually quit his research on hydraulics to focus on medicine full-time.