Ermenegildo Pini (1739–1825) was an Italian clergyman, naturalist, mathematician, geologist and philosopher. He belonged to the Barnabite Order and worked mainly in northern Italy. He attempted to examine scientific ideas on geological phenomena and fossils and show them as being consistent with the framework of Biblical Genesis.
Pini was born in Milan and went to study in the Barnabite schools at Monza and Milan. He studied philosophy and geometry and received a degree in theology in 1760 from Rome. He taught Canon Law and mathematics at the college of Sant'Alessandro in Zebedia. In 1773 he was appointed head of the newly created Museum of Sant’Alessandro. During the subsequent years, he collected specimens of geology and made studies on the rocks of Europe. He recognized the nature of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks and discussed ideas on the origin of the mountains in the region, measuring the heights of their peaks. Pini also translated Nathanael Gottfried Leske's German work Anfangsgründe der Naturgeschichte into Italian. He noticed mollusc shells in strata found high in the mountains and questioned attempts by Neptunists to explain it on the basis of a primeval sea that reached to the tops of the peaks. He suggested that the difference in sea heights may have been produced by brief changes in the rate of rotation of the earth so as to make the forty-day Biblical flood plausible.
Pini's writings included:
- (1781) Osservazioni mineralogiche sulla montagna di S. Gottardo. In:Opuscoli scelti sulle scienze e sulle arti 4.
- (1783) Memoria mineralogica sulla montagna e sui contorni di S. Gottardo. Milano, Marelli.
- Descrizione di un pantaulo ossia di una nuova macchina atta ad aspirare, ed elevare qualunque fluido col massimo vantaggio di Ermenegildo Pini C.R.B. Milano: nella Stamperia di Giuseppe Marelli. 1783.
- (1784) Mineralogische Beobachtungen über den St. Gothard. German translation by Adolf Beyer, Schneeberg of the 1781 work.
- (1784) Ueber den S. Gotthardsberg und seine umliegenden Gegenden. German translation published in Vienna of the 1783 work.
- (1785) Supplemento alle osservazioni sulla montagna di S. Gottardo. In: Opuscoli scelti sulle scienze e sulle arti 7, 124-128. Supplement to the 1783 work.
- (1786) Osservazioni sui feldspati ed altri fossili singolari dell'Italia. In: Memorie di matematica e fisica della Società italiana, 3, 688-717.
- (1790) Di alcuni fossili singolari della Lombardia Austriaca e di altre parti d'Italia. Milano, Marelli.
- Visconti, Agnese (2008). "The naturalistic explorations of the Milanese Barnabite Ermenegildo Pini (1739–1825) along the coast of Calabria: New observations and implications with regard to his views on the history of the Earth" (PDF). Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences. 59 (4): 51–63.
- Rovida, Cesare (1832). Elogio di Ermenegildo Pini. Milan: Gaspare Truffi.
- Candela, Andrea (2014). "Biblical deluge and Creationism in Eighteenth century Italy: An overview of the Geological Theory of Ermenegildo Pini (1739-1825)". In Mayer, Wolf. International Commission on the History of Geological Sciences. No. 46. pp. 67–72.
- Roth, Philippe (2006). "The early history of Tremolite" (PDF). Axis. 2 (3): 1–10.
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