Giorgio de Santillana

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Giorgio Diaz de Santillana (30 May 1902 – 1974) was an Italian-American philosopher and historian of science, and Professor of the History of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


Son of the Tunisian-Italian jurist David Santillana, expert of Islamic Law, Giorgio was born and mostly educated in Rome, Santillana moved to the United States in 1936 and became a naturalized US citizen in 1945. In 1941 he commenced his academic career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, becoming an Assistant Professor the following year. From 1943 to 1945 he served in the United States Army as a war correspondent. Following the war, in 1945 he returned to MIT and was made an Associate Professor in 1948, the year he was married. He became a full Professor of the History of Science in the School of Humanities in 1954. In 1969, he published a book entitled: Hamlet's Mill, An Essay on Myth and the Frame of Time with Dr. Hertha von Dechend. This book focused upon the understanding of the connection between the mythological stories of Pharaonic Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Christianity, etc. and the ancient observations pertaining to the stars, planets and, most notably, the 26,000 year precession of the equinoxes. He died at Beverly, Massachusetts, in 1974.[1]


  • Development of rationalism and empiricism. With Edgar Zilsel. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1941. (International encyclopedia of unified science Foundations of the unity of science ; v2 no.8).
  • Leonardo Da Vinci (1956)
  • Crime of Galileo. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955.
  • The Origins of Scientific Thought: from Anaximander to Proclus, 600 BC to 300 AD. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1961.
  • Reflections on Men and Ideas (1968)
  • Hamlet's Mill. With Hertha von Dechend (1915–2001). Boston: Gambit Inc., 1969.
  • The Mentor Philosophers: The Age of Adventure: Renaissance Philosophers


Further reading[edit]

  • Payne-Gaposchkin, Cecilia (1972). "Review of Hamlet's Mill, by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend". Journal for the History of Astronomy. 3: 206–211. Bibcode:1972JHA.....3..206P.
  • Isis, a professional journal of the history of science, included an obituary by friend, Professor Nathan Sivin in Volume 67 (1976), pages 439–443. An excerpt can be found online.

External links[edit]