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Giovanni Alfonso Borelli (; 28 January 1608 – 31 December 1679) was a
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
physiologist Physiology (; ) is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. ...
,
physicist A physicist is a scientist A scientist is a person who conducts scientific research The scientific method is an Empirical evidence, empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at leas ...

physicist
, and
mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces ...

mathematician
. He contributed to the modern principle of scientific investigation by continuing
Galileo's
Galileo's
practice of testing hypotheses against observation. Trained in mathematics, Borelli also made extensive studies of
Jupiter Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the List of Solar System objects by size, largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant with a mass more than two and a half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined, but ...

Jupiter
's moons, the mechanics of animal locomotion and, in
microscopy Microscopy is the technical field of using microscopes to view objects and areas of objects that cannot be seen with the naked eye (objects that are not within the resolution range of the normal eye). There are three well-known branches of micr ...

microscopy
, of the constituents of
blood Blood is a body fluid Body fluids, bodily fluids, or biofluids are liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isochoric flow) refers t ...

blood
. He also used microscopy to investigate the
stomata In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the ...

stomata
l movement of plants, and undertook studies in medicine and geology. During his career, he enjoyed the patronage of
Queen Christina of Sweden Christina ( sv, Kristina; 18 December 1626 – 19 April 1689), a member of the House of Vasa, was Queen of Sweden from 1632 until her abdication in 1654. She succeeded her father Gustavus Adolphus upon his death at the Battle of Lützen, bu ...
.


Biography

Giovanni Borelli was born on 28 January 1608 in the district of
Castel Nuovo Castel Nuovo (English: "New Castle"), often called Maschio Angioino (Italian: "Capetian House of Anjou, Angevin Keep"), is a Middle Ages, medieval castle located in front of Piazza Municipio and the city hall (Palazzo San Giacomo, Naples, Palazzo ...

Castel Nuovo
, in
Naples Naples (; it, Napoli ; nap, Napule ), from grc, Νεάπολις, Neápolis, lit=new city. is the regional capital of and the third-largest city of , after and , with a population of 967,069 within the city's administrative limits as of ...

Naples
. He was the son of Spanish infantryman Miguel Alonso and a local woman named Laura Porello (alternately ''Porelli'' or ''Borelli''.) Borelli eventually traveled to Rome where he studied under
Benedetto Castelli Benedetto Castelli (1578 – 9 April 1643), born Antonio Castelli, was an Italian mathematician. Benedetto was his name in religion on entering the Benedictine Order in 1595. Life Born in Brescia, Castelli studied at the University of Padua The ...

Benedetto Castelli
, matriculating in
mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and their changes (cal ...
at
Sapienza University of Rome The Sapienza University of Rome ( it, Sapienza – Università di Roma), also called simply Sapienza or the University of Rome, and formally the Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza", is a research university A research university is ...
. Sometime before 1640 he was appointed Professor of Mathematics at
Messina Messina (, also , ; scn, Missina ; lat, Messana; grc, Μεσσήνη, Messḗnē) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger ...

Messina
. In the early 1640s, he met
Galileo Galilei Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de' Galilei ( , ; 15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642), commonly referred to as Galileo, was an astronomer An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific q ...

Galileo Galilei
in
Florence Florence ( ; it, Firenze ) is a city in Central-Northern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Al ...

Florence
. While it is likely that they remained acquaintances, Galileo rejected considerations to nominate Borelli as head of Mathematics at the
University of Pisa The University of Pisa ( it, Università di Pisa, UniPi) is a public research university A public university or public college is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher ...
when he left the post himself. Borelli would attain this post in 1656. It was there that he first met the Italian anatomist
Marcello Malpighi Marcello Malpighi (10 March 1628 – 30 November 1694) was an Italians, Italian biologist and physician, who is referred to as the "Founder of microscopical anatomy, histology & Father of physiology and embryology". Malpighi's name is borne by s ...
. Borelli and Malpighi were both founder-members of the short-lived
Accademia del CimentoThe Accademia del Cimento (Academy of Experiment), an early learned society, scientific society, was founded in Florence in 1657 by students of Galileo, Giovanni Alfonso Borelli and Vincenzo Viviani and ceased to exist about a decade later. The found ...
, an Italian scientific academy founded in 1657. It was here that Borelli, piqued by Malpighi's own studies, began his first investigations into the science of animal movement, or
biomechanics Biomechanics is the study of the structure, function and motion of the mechanical aspects of biological systems, at any level from whole organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an indivi ...
. This began an interest that would continue for the rest of his life, eventually earning him the title of the Father of Biomechanics. Borelli's involvement in the Accademia was temporary and the organization itself disbanded shortly after he left. Borelli returned to Messina in 1668 but was quickly forced into exile for suspected involvement in political conspiracies. Here he first became acquainted with ex-Queen
Christina of Sweden Christina ( sv, Kristina; 18 December 1626 – 19 April 1689), a member of the House of Vasa, was Queen of Sweden from 1632 until her abdication in 1654. She succeeded her father Gustavus Adolphus upon his death at the Battle of Lützen, bu ...
who had also been exiled to Rome for converting to
Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian r ...
. Borelli lived the rest of his years in poverty, teaching basic mathematics at the school of the convent where he had been allowed to live. He never saw the publication of his masterwork, ''De Motu Animalium (On the Movement of Animals)'' as it was published posthumously, financed by Christina and his benefactors at the convent.


Scientific achievements

Borelli's major scientific achievements are focused around his investigation into
biomechanics Biomechanics is the study of the structure, function and motion of the mechanical aspects of biological systems, at any level from whole organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an indivi ...
. This work originated with his studies of animals. His publications
''De Motu Animalium I''
an
''De Motu Animalium II''
borrowing their title from the Aristotelian treatise, relate animals to machines and utilize mathematics to prove his theories. The anatomists of the 17th century were the first to suggest the contractile movement of muscles. Borelli, however, first suggested that ‘muscles do not exercise vital movement otherwise than by contracting.’ He was also the first to deny corpuscular influence on the movements of muscles. This was proven through his scientific experiments demonstrating that living muscle did not release corpuscles into water when cut. Borelli also recognized that forward motion entailed movement of a body's center of gravity forward, which was then followed by the swinging of its limbs in order to maintain balance. His studies also extended beyond muscle and locomotion. In particular he likened the action of the heart to that of a piston. For this to work properly he derived the idea that the arteries have to be elastic. For these discoveries, Borelli is labeled as the father of modern
biomechanics Biomechanics is the study of the structure, function and motion of the mechanical aspects of biological systems, at any level from whole organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an indivi ...
, and the
American Society of BiomechanicsThe American Society of Biomechanics (ASB) is a Learned society, scholarly society that focuses on biomechanics across a variety of Discipline (academia), academic fields. It was founded in 1977 by a group of scientists and clinicians. The ASB holds ...
uses the Borelli Award as its highest honour for research in the area. Along with his work on
biomechanics Biomechanics is the study of the structure, function and motion of the mechanical aspects of biological systems, at any level from whole organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an indivi ...
, Borelli also had interests in
physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Physical scie ...

physics
, specifically the orbits of the
planets A planet is an astronomical body orbit In physics, an orbit is the gravitationally curved trajectory of an physical body, object, such as the trajectory of a planet around a star or a natural satellite around a planet. Normally, orbit r ...

planets
.Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
''Theoricae Mediceorum Planetarum ex Causius Physicis Deductae''
heory_[of_the_motionof_the_Medicean_planets_[i.e.,_moons_of_Jupiter.html" ;"title="f_the_motion.html" ;"title="heory [of the motion">heory [of the motionof the Medicean planets [i.e., moons of Jupiter">f_the_motion.html" ;"title="heory [of the motion">heory [of the motionof the Medicean planets [i.e., moons of Jupiterdeduced from physical causes] (Florence, (Italy): 1666).
Borelli believed that the
planets A planet is an astronomical body orbit In physics, an orbit is the gravitationally curved trajectory of an physical body, object, such as the trajectory of a planet around a star or a natural satellite around a planet. Normally, orbit r ...

planets
were revolving as a result of three forces. The first force involved the planets' desire to approach the sun. The second force dictated that the planets were propelled to the side by impulses from sunlight, which is
corporeal Corporeal may refer to: *Matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ultimately composed of atoms, which are made u ...
. Finally, the third force impelled the planets outward due to the sun's revolution. The result of these forces is similar to a stone's orbit when tied on a string. Borelli's measurements of the orbits of satellites of Jupiter are mentioned in Volume 3 of Newton's ''Principia''. Borelli is also considered to be the first man to consider a
self-contained underwater breathing apparatus A scuba set is any breathing apparatus that is carried entirely by an underwater diver and provides the diver with breathing gas A breathing gas is a mixture of gaseous chemical elements and compounds used for breathing, respiration. Air is ...

self-contained underwater breathing apparatus
along with his early submarine design. The exhaled gas was cooled by sea water after passing through copper tubing. The
helmet A helmet is a form of protective gear Personal protective equipment (PPE) is protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other garments or equipment designed to protect the wearer's body from injury or infection. The hazards addressed by p ...

helmet
was brass with a glass window and 0.6 m (2 ft) in diameter. The apparatus was never likely to be used or tested.


Other works

Borelli also wrote: *''Delle cagioni delle febbri maligne della Sicilia negli anni 1647 e 1648'' (Cosenza, 1649) *''Euclides Restitutus'' (Pisa, 1658)
''Apollonii Pergaei Conicorum libri v., vi. et vii''
(Florence, 1661) *''Theoricae Mediceorum planetarum ex causis physicis deductae'' (Florence, 1666)
''De vi percussionis''
(Bologna, 1667)
''Meteorologia Aetnea''
(Reggio, 1669) *
''De motionibus naturalibus a gravitate pendentibus''
(Bologna, 1670)


References


Sources

* Butterfield, H. (1950) ''The Origins of Modern Science''. London: Bell and Sons Ltd. *Centore, F. (1970) ''Robert Hooke’s Contributions to Mechanics.'' The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. *Gillespie, C. ed. (1971)
Dictionary of Scientific Biography
'. New York: Linda Hall Library. *Gribbin, J. (2002) ''The Scientists''. Random House. *Thurston, A. (1999) "Giovanni Borelli and the Study of Human Movement: An Historical Review", ''Aust. N. Z. J. Surg.'' Vol. 69. *


Further reading

*


External links

* *
Gaedike, R.; Groll, E. K. & Taeger, A. 2012: Bibliography of the entomological literature from the beginning until 1863 : online database – version 1.0 – Senckenberg Deutsches Entomologisches Institut.
{{DEFAULTSORT:Borelli, Giovanni Alfonso 1608 births 1679 deaths 17th-century Neapolitan people
Italian Roman Catholics Roman Catholics by nationality Italian Catholics, Roman Catholics Catholic Church in Italy {{CatAutoTOC ...
Italian physiologists 17th-century Italian physicists Italian entomologists 17th-century Italian mathematicians