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Divini, Eustachio

1. Dates
Born: San Severino (Ancona), 4 Oct. 1610
Died: Italy, 1685
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 75
2. Father
Occupation: No Information
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: Italian
Career: Italian
Death: Italian
4. Education
Schooling: No University
He received some scientific training from Benedetto Castelli, one of Galileo's disciples.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic (assumed)
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Instrumentation
Subordinate: Astronomy
He was among the first to develop technology for the production of scientifically designed optical instruments. He produced long telescopes, some as long as 72 Roman palms (c. 16m). He also made microscopes.
He made a number of astronomical observations, utilizing his instruments. In these observations he became involved in a controversy with Huygens about Saturn, in the course of which he published several tracts.
In 1649 he published a copper engraving of a map of the moon, based upon his own observations with his own instruments.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Instruments
Secondary: Military
After an undistinguished military career (undoubtedly at a low level), he established himself in Rome in the early 1640's as a maker of clocks. He began working lenses by 1646.
8. Patronage
Types: Court Official, Eccesiastic Official
He dedicated his publication on Saturn to Prince Leopold de' Medici, and through the 1650's his telescopes were celebrated in the Tuscan court.
He made a telescope of 52 palms (in length) for Card. Flavio Chigi, the nephew of Pope Alexander VII, for which the cardinal paid him 500 scudi.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Instruments
In 1648 he constructed a innovative compound microscope with cardboard sliding tubes and convex lenses for the objective and the eyepiece, several years later he developed the doublet lens for microscopes.
He constructed telescopes of long focus (up to 633 inches).
His reticule for the telescope was an important step toward the micrometer.
He also attached telescopes to surveying equipment.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
His lenses and instruments competed with those of Giuseppe Campani, and a bitter rivalry between the two developed into a lasting feud that involved Pope Alexander VII.
In 1660 he joined with Fabri to challenge Huygens' interpretation of Saturn.
  1. Silvio A.Bedini, "Seventeenth Century Italian Compound Microscopes", Physis, 5 (1963), 383-422.
  2. Nouvelle biographie générale, 14, 331.
  3. Maria Luisa Righini Bonelli and Albert Van Helden, Divini and Campani, Supplement to Annali dell'Istituto e Museo de Storia della Scienza, 1981.
  4. The Dizionario biografico degli italiani presently extends to Da . . . , and thus Divini is not yet in it.
  5. Robert McKeon, "Le debuts de l'astronomie de precision," Physis, 13 (1971), 225-88; 14 (1972), 221-42; especially 13, 234-6 and 14, 228.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. Carlo Antonio Manzini, L'occhiale all'occhio, dioptrica practica, Bologna, 1660.
  2. Giovanni-Carlo Gentili, Elogio storico di Monsignor Angelo Massarelli di Sanseverino, (Macerata, 1873), pp. 60-86. I gather that this work contains the primary information about Divini's life, collected by a man from Divini's native city.
  3. Montucla, Histoire des mathematiques.
  4. Mantio Bianchedi, "Eustachio Divini, ottico matematico del secolo XVII," Bollettino dell'Associazione Ottica Italiana, serie storica, 1 (1946), 1-18.
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
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