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Buono, Paolo del

1. Dates
Born: Florence, 26 Oct. 1625
Died: Poland, toward the end of 1659
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 34
2. Father
Occupation: Unknown
Leonido Buono; no information other than his name.
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: Florence, Italy
Career: Italy, Germany, Poland
Death: Poland
4. Education
Schooling: Pisa, Ph.D.
There is evidence that he was a pupil of Galileo near the end of Galileo's life. He studied in Pisa under Famiano Michelini, and received his degree in 1649; the sources specifically mention the doctorate.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
He was a member of the Poor Regular Clerics of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Physics
His contributions include an instrument to demonstrate the incompressibility of water and the proposition that water enclosed in glass vials generates air in amounts dependent on the temperature of the environment. His letter to Prince Leopold that Middleton prints, the whole of our first hand knowledge of Buono's scientific capacity, outlines an impressive program of pneumatic experimentation, including an experiment like that which led to Boyle's law.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Government, Patronage
Apparently Buono and Michelini were in charge of some hydaulics project for the Grand Duke. Everything is obscure. However, Michelini fell from favor in 1655, and that is the precise year when Buono left Florence.
In 1655, he went to Germany in the service of Emperor Ferdinand III, who appointed him president of the mint. Buono acted for a time as a mining engineer in the imperial mines in the Carpathians. After the death of the emperor, he went to Poland in 1558. There he died.
8. Patronage
Type: Court Official
Although everything is obscure, I gather that for a time he enjoyed the favor of the Grand Duke Ferdinand. The letter to Leopold speaks of Ferdinand as Buono's master. The letter also makes it clear that then, 1657, he was under a cloud.
The Emperor of Germany; see above. The emperor also offered him honors and prizes if he could devise a mechanism to draw water from mines.
He wrote several letters to Prince Leopold about his observations of a comet.
9. Technological Involvement
Types: Instruments, Civil Engineering, Hydraulics
He is said to have made an instrument to demonstrate the incompressibility of water. I have a hard time imagining what this could mean, though it must refer to an experimental apparatus expounded (along with other things) in the letter to Prince Leopold. In that letter he also described an inclined barometer.
He worked on a pumping mechanism to drain mines.
In a letter Michelini indicates that he and Buono were in charge of works along the Arno at Varlungo at some time.
10. Scientific Societies
Membership: Accademia del Cimento
He participated, as a correspondent from Germany in Leopold's Accademia del Cimento.
  1. A short biography of Del Buono in Galileo's Opere, national ed., 20, 406; see also 15, pt.3, p.325, letter from Ward to Galileo of 7 September 1641. QB29 .G15
  2. R. Caverni, Storia del metodo sperimentale in Italia, 6 vols. (Florence, 1891-1900), 1, 194.
  3. Not in Dizionario biografico degli italiani.
  4. Not in G.M. Mazzuchelli, Gli scrittori d'Italia, (Brescia, 1753-) W.E.K. Middleton, "Paolo del Buono on the Elasticity of the Air," Archive for History of Exact Sciences, 6 (1960), 1-28.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. Lettere inedite di uomini illustri, Angelo Fabronio, ed., I, (Florence, 1773), pp. 94, 151, 200.
  2. There is not much information about this obscure man whose scientific accomplishments were as minimal as those of anyone in the DSB.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

1995 Al Van Helden
Last updated
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