Vincenzo Viviani (April 5, 1622 – September 22, 1703) was an Italian
mathematician and scientist. He was a pupil of Torricelli and a
disciple of Galileo.
3 Works (selection)
4 See also
6 External links
Born and raised in Florence, Viviani studied at a
There, Grand Duke Ferdinando II de' Medici furnished him a scholarship
to purchase mathematical books. He became a pupil of Evangelista
Torricelli and worked on physics and geometry.
In 1639, at the age of 17, he was an assistant of
Galileo Galilei in
Arcetri. He remained a disciple until Galileo's death in 1642. From
1655 to 1656, Viviani edited the first edition of Galileo's collected
After Torricelli's 1647 death, Viviani was appointed to fill his
position at the
Accademia dell'Arte del Disegno
Accademia dell'Arte del Disegno in Florence. Viviani
was also one of the first members of the Grand Duke's experimental
academy, the Accademia del Cimento, when it was created a decade
In 1660, Viviani and
Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
Giovanni Alfonso Borelli conducted an experiment
to determine the speed of sound. Timing the difference between the
seeing the flash and hearing the sound of a cannon shot at a distance,
they calculated a value of 350 meters per second (m/s), considerably
better than the previous value of 478 m/s obtained by Pierre
Gassendi. The currently accepted value is 331.29 m/s at 0 °C
or 340.29 m/s at sea level. It has also been claimed that in 1661
he experimented with the rotation of pendulums, 190 years before the
famous demonstration by Foucault.
By 1666, Viviani started to receive many job offers as his reputation
as a mathematician grew. That same year,
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV of France offered
him a position at the Académie Royale and John II Casimir of Poland
offered Viviani a post as his astronomer. Fearful of losing Viviani,
the Grand Duke appointed him court mathematician. Viviani accepted
this post and turned down his other offers.
In 1687, he published a book on engineering, Discorso intorno al
difendersi da' riempimenti e dalle corrosione de' fiumi.
Upon his death, Viviani left an almost completed work on the
resistance of solids, which was subsequently completed and published
by Luigi Guido Grandi.
In 1737, the Church finally allowed Galileo to be reburied in a grave
with an elaborate monument. The monument that was created in the
church of Santa Croce was constructed with the help of funds left by
Viviani for that specific purpose. Viviani's own remains were moved to
Galileo's new grave as well.
The lunar crater Viviani is named after him.
The "Palazzo Viviani" or "Palazzo dei Cartelloni" with plaques and
bust dedicated by Viviani to Galilei
In Florence, Viviani had Galileo's life and achievements written in
Latin on the façade of his palace, on huge stone scrolls. The palace
was then renamed Palazzo dei Cartelloni.
Racconto istorico della vita di
Galileo Galilei (Historical Account of
the Life of Galileo Galilei) (composed in 1654, published in 1717)
"Relazione intorno al riparare per quanto possibile sia la città e
campagne di Pisa dall'inondazioni" (April 12, 1684)
Galileo's Leaning Tower of Pisa experiment
^ a b c d e f g h i "Viviani" article in the University of St Andrews
Vincenzo Viviani on museo galileo
Viviani page at Rice University's Galileo Project
ISNI: 0000 0000 8086 1118
BNF: cb12000373g (data)