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Grimaldi, Francesco Maria

1. Dates
Born: Bologna, 2 April 1618
Died: Bologna, 28 December 1663
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 45
2. Father
Occupation: Merchant
A silk merchant Fantuzzi says it was a noble family but I am not trusting that.
The family is described as wealthy.
3. Nationality
Birth: Italy
Career: Italy
Death: Italy
4. Education
Schooling: Religous Order. Equivalent of B.A. assumed. D.D.
1634, studied in the Jesuit college at Novellara.
1635, studied philosophy at the Jesuit college at Parma.
1636, studied philosophy at Ferrara.
1637-1638, at Bologna, presumably studying.
1642-1645, studied theology at Bologna (presumably at the Jesuit College of Santa Lucia)
1647, doctorate in theology.
Note that all of Grimaldi's education was in institutions of the society.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
1632, entered the Jesuit order.
1651, took full vows for the priesthood.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Astronomy, Optics
In addition to his well known work in optics, Grimaldi helped Riccioli in astronomy and prepared a map of the moon that assigned the enduring names to its principal features.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Church Life
1638-1642, taught rhetoric and humanities at the College of Santa Lucia, Bologna.
1647, appointed to teach philosophy, but in ill health, so he took the less time consuming position of teaching mathematics. He continued in the college in Bologna until his death.
8. Patronage
Type: None
Grimaldi's work is closely tied with the work of Riccioli, who was prefect of studies at Bologna when Grimaldi arrived. Grimaldi conducted experiments for him, and Riccioli credits him as being essential for the completion of his Almagestum novum (1651). Grimaldi is also responsible for a large amount of the tabular work in the second volume of Riccioli's Astronomia reformata (1665). It appears to me, especially from Riccioli's warm elogium to Grimaldi, that the two were far more peers and friends than patron and client.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Instruments
Riccioli remarked especially on Grimaldi's skill at devising, building, and operating new instruments. Cassini was impressed by a quadrant he made.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
  1. Riccioli, Elogium, attached to Grimaldi, Physico-mathesis de lumine, coloribus, et iride (Bologna, 1665).
  2. Roberto Savelli, Nel terzo centenario del "De lumine" di F.M.
  3. Grimaldi, (Ferraro, 1966).
  4. Vincenzo Busacchi, "F.M. Grimaldi (1618-1663) e la sua opera scientifica," in Actes du VIIe Congress international d'histoire des sciences, Florence 1956, (Paris, 1958), pp. 651-5.
  5. Vasco Ronchi, "Padre Grimaldi e il suo tempo," Physis, 5 (1963), 349-72.
  6. Carlos Sommervogel, ed. Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, (Brussels, 1891).
  7. G. Fantuzzi, Notizie degli scittori bolognesi, (Bologna, 1781- 94), 4, 305-6. Angelo Fabroni, Vitae italiorum doctrina excellentium, 3, (Pisa, 1779), pp. 367-81.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. Giorgio Tabarroni, P.F.M. Grimaldi, bolognese iniziatore della ottica-fisica (Bologna, 1964).
  2. _____, Nel terzo centenario della morte de F.M. Grimaldi, (Bologna, 1964). Neither of these pieces by Tabarroni, listed in the DSB, appear to be anywhere in the United States.
  3. Roberto Savelli, Grimaldi e la rifrazione, (Bologna, 1951).
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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