Francesco Maurolico

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This article is about the Italian mathematician and astronomer. For the crater, see Maurolycus (crater).
Franciscus Maurolycus
MAUROLICO FRANCESCO2.JPG
Portrait of Francesco Maurolico.
Born 1494
Messina, Kingdom of Sicily
Died 1575 (aged 81)
Messina, Kingdom of Sicily
Fields Mathematics, geometry, optics, conics, mechanics, music, and astronomy

Francesco Maurolico (Greek: Φραγκίσκος Μαυρόλυκος, Frangiskos Mavrolikos; Latin: Franciscus Maurolycus; Francisci Maurolyci; Italian: Francesco Maurolico; September 16, 1494-July 21 or July 22, 1575) was a mathematician and astronomer from Sicily. Born to a Greek family[1][2] and immersed in the study of classical Greek text,[3] throughout his lifetime he made contributions to the fields of geometry, optics, conics, mechanics, music, and astronomy. He edited the works of classical authors including Archimedes, Apollonius, Autolycus, Theodosius and Serenus.[4] He also composed his own unique treatises on mathematics and mathematical science.[5]

Life[edit]

Born in Messina of a family of Greek descent[6][7][8][9][10] who originated in Constantinople,[11][12] they settled in this Sicilian city after the Fall of Constantinople (1453).[13] Recent studies seem indeed indicate that the family settled in Messina at the end of 14th century (Moscheo). Maurolico received a solid education. His father, Antonio, had been a physician and studied under the famous Hellenic scholar Constantine Lascaris and later became Master of the Messina mint. The Maurolico family had a villa outside the city.

In 1521, Maurolico took holy orders. In 1550, he entered the Benedictine Order and became a monk at the monastery of Santa Maria del Parto à Castelbuono. Two years later, he was consecrated as abbot at the Cattedrale San Nicolò di Messina.

Accomplishments[edit]

Like his father, Maurolico also became head of the Messina mint and for a time was in charge of maintaining the fortifications of the city on behalf of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. Maurolico tutored the two sons of Charles' viceroy in Sicily, Juan de Vega, and had the patronage of many rich and powerful men. He also corresponded with scholars such as Clavius and Federico Commandino. Between 1548 and 1550, Maurolico stayed at the castle of Pollina in Sicily as a guest of the marquis Giovanni II Ventimiglia, and utilized the castle tower in order to carry out astronomical observations.

Maurolico's astronomical observations include a sighting of the supernova that appeared in Cassiopeia in 1572. Tycho Brahe published details of his observations in 1574; the supernova is now known as Tycho's Supernova.

In 1569, he was appointed professor at the University of Messina.

Works[edit]

  • Maurolico's Photismi de lumine et umbra and Diaphana concern the refraction of light and attempted to explain the natural phenomenon of the rainbow. He also studied the camera obscura. Photismi were completed in 1521, Diaphana first part 1523, the second and third ones in 1552, but all the material was published posthumously only in 1611.
  • His De momentis aequalibus (completed in 1548, but first published only in 1685) attempted to calculate the barycenter of various bodies (pyramid, paraboloid, etc.).
  • In his Sicanicarum rerum compendium, he presented the history of Sicily, and included some autobiographical details. He had been commissioned to write this work, and in 1553 the Senate of Messina granted him a salary of 100 gold pieces per year for two years so that he could finish this work and his works on mathematics.
  • His De Sphaera Liber Unus (1575) contains a fierce attack against Copernicus' heliocentrism, in which Maurolico writes that Copernicus “deserved a whip or a scourge rather than a refutation”.[15]
  • Maurolico published a Cosmographia in which he described a methodology for measuring the earth, which was later employed by Jean Picard in measuring length of meridian arc in 1670.
  • Maurolico published an edition of Aristotle's Mechanics, and a work on music. He summarized Ortelius's Theatrum orbis terrarum and also wrote Grammatica rudimenta (1528) and De lineis horariis. He made a map of Sicily, which was published in 1575.
  • Maurolico worked on ancient mathematical texts: Theodosius of Bithynia, Menelaus of Alexandria, Autolycus of Pitane, Euclid, Apollonius of Perga and Archimedes. He didn't make new translations, but working on the existing ones, he provided new and sound interpretations of Greek mathematics.

Death and legacy[edit]

He died at Messina.

The lunar crater Maurolycus is named after him.

There is a school in Messina with his name.

In 2009 the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage has ordained the establishment of the Edizione nazionale dell'opera matematica di Francesco Maurolico (National Edition of Maurolico's mathematical oeuvre).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sasaki, Chikara (2003). Descartes's mathematical thought. Springer. p. 43. ISBN 1-4020-1746-4. Here it is enough to note that the very first Jesuit college at Messina had already produced the influential Greek mathematician Francesco Maurolico. 
  2. ^ Wilbur Applebaum, Encyclopedia of the Scientific Revolution: From Copernicus to Newton, Routledge - 2000, page 5??
  3. ^ Bernard R. Goldstein, From Summetria to Symmetry: The Making of a Revolutionary Scientific Concept: The Making of a Revolutionary Scientific Concept, Springer - 2008, page 85
  4. ^ Galluzzi. Paolo (1984). Novità celesti e crisi del sapere. Banca toscana. p. 132. OCLC 59935636. Francesco Maurolico (1494-1575) Maurolico was a Sicilian, descended from Greek immigrants. He had an active career as civil servant, abbot, historian, and teacher. His passion was for mathematics, and his aim was to restore European knowledge of the ancient Greek mathematical achievement To the latter end, he vigorously pursued his own mathematical studies; edited the works of Archimedes, Apollonius, Autolycus, Theodosius, and Serenus; summarized and commented on Euclid's Elements; paraphrased and edited various medieval mathematical works or medieval translations of ancient works; and composed his own original treatises on mathematics and mathematical science. 
  5. ^ Galluzzi. Paolo (1984). Novità celesti e crisi del sapere. Banca toscana. p. 132. OCLC 59935636. Francesco Maurolico (1494-1575) Maurolico was a Sicilian, descended from Greek immigrants. He had an active career as civil servant, abbot, historian, and teacher. His passion was for mathematics, and his aim was to restore European knowledge of the ancient Greek mathematical achievement To the latter end, he vigorously pursued his own mathematical studies; edited the works of Archimedes, Apollonius, Autolycus, Theodosius, and Serenus; summarized and commented on Euclid's Elements; paraphrased and edited various medieval mathematical works or medieval translations of ancient works; and composed his own original treatises on mathematics and mathematical science. 
  6. ^ Clagett, Marshall ; Archimedes (1988). Archimedes in the Middle Ages, Volume 3. The American Philosophical Society. p. 749. ISBN 0-87169-125-6. Initially, we should observe that Francesco Maurolico (or Maruli or Maroli) was born in Messina on 16 September 1494, of a Greek family which had fled Constantinople after its fall to the Turks in 1453 and settled in Messina. 
  7. ^ Scoular, Spencer (2005). The Unlimited Infinite: Exploring the Philosophy of Mathematics. Universal Publishers. p. 74. ISBN 1-58112-470-8. Italian geometrician of Greek origin, Francesco Maurolico (1494- 1575) independently discovered the method of mathematical induction 
  8. ^ Burdick, Bruce Stanley (2009). Mathematical works printed in the Americas, 1554-1700. JHU Press. p. 74. ISBN 0-8018-8823-9. Francesco Maurolico (1494–1575)... Maurolico was from a Greek family that had escaped the Turks by fleeing to Sicily. 
  9. ^ Burton, David M. (1999). The history of mathematics: an introduction. WCB McGraw-Hill. p. 425. ISBN 0-07-009468-3. Francesco Maurolico (1494-1575) is generally acknowledged to have been one of the foremost mathematicians of the sixteenth century. Born in Sicily of Greek parents, he was an ordained priest, at one time an abbot, and for many years 
  10. ^ Boyer, Carl Benjamin; Merzbach, Uta C. (1991). A history of mathematics. Wiley. p. 301. ISBN 0-471-54397-7. classical works of antiquity continued strong, as we see in the case of Maurolico, a priest of Greek parentage who was born, lived, and died in Sicily. Maurolico was a scholarly geometer who did much to revive interest in the more advanced of the antique works. 
  11. ^ Ffolliott, Sheila (1984). Civic sculpture in the Renaissance: Montorsoli's fountains at Messina. UMI Research Press. p. 204. ISBN 0-8357-1474-8. A Greek intellectual community had settled there in the fifteenth century, Maurolico himself having been the product of a family of Constantinopolitan origins. 
  12. ^ Cotterell, John (1996). Social Networks and Social Influences in Adolescence. Routledge. p. 34. ISBN 0-415-10973-6. Francisco Maurolico, the son of Greek refugees from Constantinople, spread an interest in number theory through his study of arithmetic in two books published in 1575 after his death. 
  13. ^ Clagett, Marshall ; Archimedes (1988). Archimedes in the Middle Ages, Volume 3. The American Philosophical Society. p. 749. ISBN 0-87169-125-6. Initially, we should observe that Francesco Maurolico (or Maruli or Maroli) was born in Messina on 16 September 1494, of a Greek family which had fled Constantinople after its fall to the Turks in 1453 and settled in Messina. 
  14. ^ Vacca, G. (1909). "Maurolycus, the first discoverer of the principle of mathematical induction". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 16 (2): 70–73. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1909-01860-9. MR 1558845. 
  15. ^ Rosen, Edward (April 1957). "Maurolico's attitude toward Copernicus". Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 101 (2): 177–194. 

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