List of lay Catholic scientists

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from List of Catholic scientists)

"The Vitruvian Man" by Leonardo da Vinci

Many Catholics have made significant contributions to the development of science and mathematics from the Middle Ages to today. These scientists include Galileo Galilei, René Descartes, Louis Pasteur, Blaise Pascal, André-Marie Ampère, Charles-Augustin de Coulomb, Pierre de Fermat, Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, Alessandro Volta, Augustin-Louis Cauchy, Pierre Duhem, Jean-Baptiste Dumas, Alois Alzheimer, Georgius Agricola and Christian Doppler.

Lay Catholic scientists[edit]


Maria Gaetana Agnesi
André-Marie Ampère
  • Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718–1799) – mathematician who wrote on differential and integral calculus
  • Georgius Agricola (1494–1555) – father of mineralogy[1]
  • Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522–1605) – father of natural history
  • Rudolf Allers (1883–1963) – Austrian psychiatrist; the only Catholic member of Sigmund Freud's first group, later a critic of Freudian psychoanalysis
  • Alois Alzheimer (1864–1915) – credited with identifying the first published case of presenile dementia, which is now known as Alzheimer's disease[2]
  • André-Marie Ampère (1775–1836) – one of the main discoverers of electromagnetism
  • Leopold Auenbrugger (1722–1809) – first to use percussion as a diagnostic technique in medicine
  • Adrien Auzout (1622–1691) – astronomer who contributed to the development of the telescopic micrometer
  • Amedeo Avogadro (1776–1856) – Italian scientist noted for contributions to molecular theory and Avogadro's Law[3]



Gerty Cori
  • Nicola Cabibbo (1935–2010) – Italian physicist, discoverer of the universality of weak interactions (Cabibbo angle), President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences from 1993 until his death
  • Alexis Carrel (1873–1944) – awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for pioneering vascular suturing techniques
  • John Casey (mathematician) (1820–1891) – Irish geometer known for Casey's theorem
  • Giovanni Domenico Cassini (1625–1712) – first to observe four of Saturn's moons and the co-discoverer of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter
  • Augustin-Louis Cauchy (1789–1857) – mathematician who was an early pioneer in analysis
  • Andrea Cesalpino (c.1525–1603) – botanist who also theorized on the circulation of blood
  • Jean-François Champollion (1790–1832) – published the first translation of the Rosetta Stone
  • Michel Chasles (1793–1880) – mathematician who elaborated on the theory of modern projective geometry and was awarded the Copley Medal
  • Guy de Chauliac (c. 1300–1368) – most eminent surgeon of the Middle Ages
  • Chien-jen Chen (1951–) – Taiwanese epidemiologist researching hepatitis B, liver cancer risk of people with hepatitis B, link of arsenic to blackfoot disease [zh], etc.[13]
  • Michel Eugène Chevreul (1786–1889) – considered one of the major figures in the early development of organic chemistry;[14] stated "Those who know me also know that born a Catholic, the son of Christian parents, I live and I mean to die a Catholic"[15]
  • Mateo Realdo Colombo (1516–1559) – discovered the pulmonary circuit,[16] which paved the way for Harvey's discovery of circulation
  • Arthur W. Conway (1876–1950) – remembered for his application of biquaternion algebra to the special theory of relativity
  • E. J. Conway (1894–1968) – Irish biochemist known for works pertaining to electrolyte physiology and analytical chemistry[17]
  • Carl Ferdinand Cori (1896–1984) – shared the 1947 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with his wife for their discovery of the Cori cycle
  • Gerty Cori (1896–1957) – biochemist who was the first American woman win a Nobel Prize in science (1947)[18]
  • Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis (1792–1843) – formulated laws regarding rotating systems, which later became known as the Corialis effect
  • Domenico Cotugno (1736–1822) – Italian anatomist who discovered the nasopalatine nerve, demonstrated the existence of the labyrinthine fluid, and formulated a theory of resonance and hearing, among other important contributions
  • Angélique du Coudray (c. 1712–1794) – head midwife at the Hôtel-Dieu, Paris, inventor of the first lifesize obstetrical mannequin, and author of an early midwifery textbook; commissioned by Louis XV to teach midwifery to rural women, she taught over 30,000 students over almost three decades
  • Maurice Couette (1858–1943) – best known for his contributions to rheology and the theory of fluid flow; appointed a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pope Pius XI in 1925[19]
  • Charles-Augustin de Coulomb (1736–1806) – physicist known for developing Coulomb's law
  • Clyde Cowan (1919–1974) – co-discoverer of the neutrino
  • Jean Cruveilhier (1791–1874) – made important contributions to the study of the nervous system and was the first to describe the lesions associated with multiple sclerosis; originally planned to enter the priesthood
  • Endre Czeizel (1935–2015) – discovered that folic acid prevents or reduces the formation of more serious developmental disorders, such as neural tube defects like spina bifida


Peter Debye
Christian Doppler
René Descartes
  • Gabriel Auguste Daubrée (1814–1896) – pioneer in the application of experimental methods to the study of diverse geologic phenomena[20]
  • Peter Debye (1884–1966) – awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1936 "for his contributions to our knowledge of molecular structure through his investigations on dipole moments and on the diffraction of X-rays and electrons in gases."[21]
  • Charles Enrique Dent (1911–1976) – British biochemist who defined new amino-acid diseases such as various forms of Fanconi syndrome, Hartnup disease, argininosuccinic aciduria and homocystinuria[22]
  • César-Mansuète Despretz (1791–1863) – chemist and physicist who investigated latent heat, the elasticity of vapors, the compressibility of liquids, and the density of gases[23]
  • Peter Dodson (1946–) – American paleontologist at the University of Pennsylvania; co-editor of The Dinosauria, widely considered the definitive scholarly reference on dinosaurs
  • Ignacy Domeyko (1802–1889) – Polish scientist who made major contributions to the study of Chile's geography, geology, and mineralogy
  • Christian Doppler (1803–1853) – Austrian physicist and mathematician who enunciated the Doppler effect
  • Pierre Duhem (1861–1916) – historian of science who made important contributions to hydrodynamics, elasticity, and thermodynamics
  • Félix Dujardin (1801–1860) – biologist remembered for his research on protozoans and other invertebrates; became a devout Catholic later in life and was known to read The Imitation of Christ[24]
  • Jean-Baptiste Dumas (1800–1884) – chemist who established new values for the atomic mass of thirty elements
  • André Dumont (1809–1857) – Belgian geologist who prepared the first geological map of Belgium and named many of the subdivisions of the Cretaceous and Tertiary[25]
  • Charles Dupin (1784–1873) – mathematician who discovered the Dupin cyclide and the Dupin indicatrix[26]




Galileo Galilei
  • Luigi Galvani (1737–1798) – formulated the theory of animal electricity
  • Dorothy Annie Elizabeth Garrod (1892–1968) – archaeologist specialised in the Palaeolithic period
  • William Gascoigne (1610–1644) – developed the first micrometer
  • Paula González (1932–2016) – religious sister and professor of biology
  • Johannes Gutenberg (c. 1398 – 1468) – inventor of the printing press
  • Paul Guthnick (1879–1947) – astronomer who pioneered the application of photoelectric methods to the measurement of the brightness of celestial bodies[29]


  • Samuel Stehman Haldeman (1812–1880) – American naturalist and convert to Catholicism who researched fresh-water mollusks, the human voice, Amerindian dialects, and the organs of sound of insects
  • Jean Baptiste Julien d'Omalius d'Halloy (1783–1875) – one of the pioneers of modern geology[30]
  • Morgan Hebard (1887–1946) – American entomologist who described over 800 new species of orthopteroids and compiled an entomological collection of over 250,000 specimens
  • Eduard Heis (1806–1877) – astronomer who contributed the first true delineation of the Milky Way
  • Jan Baptist van Helmont (1579–1644) – founder of pneumatic chemistry
  • Karl Herzfeld (1892–1978) – Austrian-American physicist who provided the first fundamental explanation of the mechanism of the absorption of sound by molecules[31]
  • Victor Franz Hess (1883–1964) – Austrian-American physicist, and Nobel laureate in physics, who discovered cosmic rays.
  • George de Hevesy (1885–1966) – Hungarian radiochemist and Nobel laureate[32]
  • Charles Hermite (1822–1901) – mathematician who did research on number theory, quadratic forms, elliptic functions, and algebra
  • John Philip Holland (1840–1914) – developed the first submarine to be formally commissioned by the US Navy





Antoine Lavoisier
  • René Laennec (1781–1826) – physician who invented the stethoscope
  • Laurent Lafforgue (1966-) - mathematician, winner of Fields Medal
  • Joseph Louis Lagrange (1736–1813) – mathematician and astronomer known for Lagrangian points and Lagrangian mechanics
  • Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744–1829) – French naturalist, biologist and academic whose theories on evolution preceded those of Darwin
  • Johann von Lamont (1805–1879) – astronomer and physicist who studied the magnetism of the Earth and was the first to calculate the mass of Uranus
  • Karl Landsteiner (1868–1943) – Nobel Prize winner who identified and classified the human blood types
  • Pierre André Latreille (1762–1833) – pioneer in entomology
  • Antoine Lavoisier (1743–1794) – father of modern chemistry[35]
  • Claude-Nicolas Le Cat (1700–1768) – invented or perfected several instruments for lithotomy and was one of the first adherents of a mechanistic approach to physiology[36]
  • Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707–1788) – one of the pioneers of natural history, especially through his monumental Histoire Naturelle
  • Xavier Le Pichon (1937– ) – French geophysicist; known for his comprehensive model of plate tectonics, helping create the field of plate tectonics
  • Jérôme Lejeune (1926–1994) – pediatrician and geneticist, best known for his discovery of the link of diseases to chromosome abnormalities
  • Jacques Jean Lhermitte (1877–1959) – French neurologist and neuropsychiatrist; clinical director at the Salpêtrière Hospital
  • André Lichnerowicz (1915–1998) – French differential geometer and mathematical physicist considered the founder of modern Poisson geometry
  • Karl August Lossen (1841–1893) – geologist who mapped and described the Harz Mountains[37]
  • Jonathan Lunine (1959–) – planetary scientist at the forefront of research into planet formation, evolution, and habitability; serves as vice-president of the Society of Catholic Scientists[38]



  • John von Neumann (1903–1957) – Hungarian-born American mathematician and polymath[47] who converted to Catholicism[48]
  • Charles Nicolle (1866–1936) – French bacteriologist who received the 1928 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his identification of lice as the transmitter of epidemic typhus; came back to the Catholic Church at the end of his life
  • Martin Nowak (1965–) – evolutionary theorist and Director of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University; serves on the board of the Society of Catholic Scientists[38]


  • Niall Ó Glacáin (c. 1563–1653) – Irish physician who worked to treat victims of bubonic plague outbreaks in various places throughout Europe. He was a pioneer in pathological anatomy.
  • Karin Öberg (1982–) – her Öberg Astrochemistry Group discovered the first complex organic molecule in a protoplanetary disk; serves on the board of the Society of Catholic Scientists[38]
  • Abraham Ortelius (1527–1598) – created the first modern atlas and theorized on continental drift
  • Jean-Michel Oughourlian (1940–) – Armenian-French neuropsychiatrist and psychologist; President of the Association of Doctors of the American Hospital of Paris; honorary member of the Association Recherches Mimétiques


Blaise Pascal
Louis Pasteur
  • Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) – French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and philosopher
  • Louis Pasteur (1822–1895) – father of bacteriology[49][50]
  • Pierre Joseph Pelletier (1788–1842) – co-discovered strychnine, caffeine, quinine, cinchonine, among many other discoveries in chemistry[51]
  • Georg von Peuerbach (1423–1461) – called the father of mathematical and observational astronomy in the West[52]
  • Gabrio Piola (1794–1850) – Italian physicist and mathematician who made fundamental contributions to continuum mechanics
  • Giambattista della Porta (1535–1615) – Italian polymath, made contributions to agriculture, hydraulics, military engineering, and pharmacology
  • Pierre Puiseux (1855–1928) – French astronomer who created a photographic atlas of the Moon











See also[edit]


  1. ^ "George Agricola". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  2. ^ Berrios, G. E. (November 1, 1990). "Alzheimer's disease: A conceptual history". International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 5 (6): 355–65. doi:10.1002/gps.930050603. ISSN 1099-1166. S2CID 145155424.
  3. ^ Guareschi, Icilio (1911). "Amedeo Avogadro e la sua opera scientifica". Opere scelte di Amedeo Avogadro. Turin: Accademia delle scienze. pp. i–cxl.
  4. ^ "Jacques Babinet". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  5. ^ "Joachim Barrande". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  6. ^ "Giambattista Belzoni". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  7. ^ The Catholic world. 1865–1971.
  8. ^ Hockey, Thomas A.; Trimble, Virginia; Bracher, Katherine (2007). Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. New York: Springer.
  9. ^ "Blainville, Henri Marie Ducrotay De".
  10. ^ "Raoul Bott biography".
  11. ^ "The Life and Works ofRaoul Bott" (PDF).
  12. ^ Obituary: James Britten.
  13. ^ Cyranoski, David (January 13, 2016). "Taiwan's SARS hero poised to be vice-president". Nature. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  14. ^ "Michel Eugène Chevreu".
  15. ^ "Michel Eugène Chevreu". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  16. ^ "Mateov Realdo Colombo".
  17. ^ "Edward Joseph Conway, 1894-1968". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 15: 69–82. 1969. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1969.0003. S2CID 39540087.
  18. ^ "Cori". Archived from the original on November 10, 2012. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
  19. ^ "Maurice Couette, one of the founders of rheology" (PDF).
  20. ^ "Gabriel-Auguste Daubrée | French geochemist".
  21. ^ "Peter Debye".
  22. ^ Neuberger, Albert (1978). "Charles Enrique Dent, 25 August 1911 - 19 September 1976". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 24: 15–31. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1978.0002.
  23. ^ "Cesar-Mansuete Despretz". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  24. ^ File:Félix Dujardin 1811-1860 by Louis Joubin (1901) Archives de Parasitologie Vol. 4.pdf
  25. ^ "Hubert-Andre Dumont". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  26. ^ "Pierre-Charles-Francois Dupin". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  27. ^ "Armand-Hippolyte-Louis Fizeau". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  28. ^ "Fuchs, Johann Nepomuk Von".
  29. ^ "Paul Guthnick". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 108: 35–37. 1948. doi:10.1093/mnras/108.1.35.
  30. ^ "Jean-Baptiste-Julien D'Omalius Halloy". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  31. ^ "Karl Herzfeld, 86, CU Physicist, Dies". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C. June 7, 1978. ISSN 0190-8286. OCLC 1330888409.
  32. ^ Levi, Hilde (1985), George de Hevesy: life and work: a biography, Bristol: A. Hilger, p. 14, ISBN 978-0-85274-555-7
  33. ^ "News Briefs". Catholic News. October 23, 2012. Archived from the original on May 2, 2014.
  34. ^ "Karl Kreil". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  35. ^ "Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  36. ^ "Le Cat, Claude-Nicolas".
  37. ^ "Karl August Lossen". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  38. ^ a b c "Board : Society of Catholic Scientists".
  39. ^ "William James MacNeven". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  40. ^ "Juan Martin Maldacena".
  41. ^ "Marcello Malpighi". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  42. ^ Sartori, Renzo. “Luigi Ferdinando Marsili, Founding Father of Oceanography.” In Four Centuries of the Word Geology. Ulisse Aldrovandi 1603 in Bologna, edited by Gian Battista Vai and William Cavazza. Bologna, Italy: Minerva Edizioni, 2003.
  43. ^ "Curriculum Vitae for Kenneth R. Miller" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 9, 2011. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
  44. ^ "Giovanni Battista Morgagni". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  45. ^ "Johann Müller". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  46. ^ "The religion of Joseph Murray, Nobel Prize-winner in Medicine and Physiology". Archived from the original on July 4, 2017. Retrieved January 15, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  47. ^ Regis, Ed (November 8, 1992). "Johnny Jiggles the Planet". The New York Times. Retrieved February 4, 2008.
  48. ^ Halmos, P.R. (1973). "The Legend of von Neumann". The American Mathematical Monthly. 80 (4): 382–394. doi:10.2307/2319080. JSTOR 2319080.
  49. ^ Vallery-Radot, Maurice (1994). Pasteur. Paris: Perrin. pp. 377–407.
  50. ^ "Louis Pasteur". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  51. ^ "Pelletier, Pierre-Joseph".
  52. ^ "George von Peuerbach". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  53. ^ "Henri Victor Regnault". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  54. ^ Eliel, Ernest L., Frederick Dominic Rossini, Biographical Memoirs, National Academy of Sciences.
  55. ^ "Thenard, Louis Jacques".
  56. ^ "François Vieta, Seigneur de La Bigottière". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  57. ^ "Gli scienziati cattolici che hanno fatto lItalia" (in Italian). Zenit. March 18, 2012. Archived from the original on July 13, 2015.
  58. ^ Kusky, Timothy M.; Cullen, Katherine E. (2010). Encyclopedia of Earth and Space Science. ISBN 9781438128597.
  59. ^ The Princeton Companion to Mathematics. Ed. Timothy Gowers. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008. (p.770).
  60. ^ "Anna Wierzbicka" – via Google Scholar.
  61. ^ "Winslow, Jacob (or Jacques-Bénigne)".
  62. ^ Official Biography of Zichichi at the Ettore Majorana Foundation
  63. ^ Antonino Zichichi; Richard C. Ragaini; Ettore M (2001). International Seminar on Nuclear War and Planetary Emergencies: 25th session. p. 4. ISBN 9789812797001.
  64. ^ Wilson Ross; Nancy Wilson Ross is the author of "Three Ways of Asian Wisdom: Hinduism, Nancy (December 16, 1984). "Thomas Merton's Pilgrimage". Washington Post. {{cite news}}: |last= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)