Court Scientists: The Art of Experimentation in the Galilean Accademia del Cimento (1657-1667)

Founded in 1657 by Prince Leopold de’ Medici and Grand Duke Ferdinand II, the Accademia del Cimento was the first scientific society in Europe. Following Galileo’s inheritance, the members of the Cimento dedicated themselves to systematic experimental testing of natural phenomena and their interpretation – until then having relied only on Aristotle’s authority. The activities of the Accademia del Cimento came to an end in 1667 with the publication of the Saggi di naturali esperienze (Essays on natural experiments). The most significant results of the Accademia’s research were obtained in thermometry, barometry, studies on vacuum and the observation of Saturn. Experiments on air pressure played an important role in demolishing the traditional belief that “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Court Scientists (available only in Italian) is one of the thirteen shows held in twelve Italian cities which make up the “multicentral” exhibition One Thousand Years of Italian Science.

Exhibition Dates

18.03.2001 – 18.06.2001 Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi