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Achillini, Alessandro

Agricola, Georgius

Alberti, Leone Battista



Babington, John

Baif, Lazare de

Baldi, Bernardino

Baliani, Giovanni Battista

Barocius, Franciscus

Benedetti, Giovanni Battista

Berga, Antonio

Biancani, Giuseppe

Borelli, Giovanni Alfonso

Borro, Girolamo

Boyle, Robert

Branca, Giovanni

Buonamici, Francesco

Buteo, Johannes

Cardano, Girolamo

Casati, Paolo

Castelli, Benedetto

Cataneo, Girolamo

Ceredi, Giuseppe

Ceva, Giovanni

Cicero, M. Tullius

Commandino, Federico

Delfino, Federico

Descartes, Rene



Fabri, Honore

Foscarini, Paolo Antonio

Galilei, Galileo

Gassendi, Pierre

Ghetaldi, Marino

Giphanius, Hubert

Guevara, Giovanni di

Heron Alexandrinus

Heytesbury, William

Hutton, Charles

Jordanus de Nemore

Landi, Bassiano

Lorini, Buonaiuto


Manuzio, Paolo

Marci of Kronland, Johannes Marcus

Mellini, Domenico

Mersenne, Marin

Monantheuil, Henri de

Monte, Guidobaldo del

Morelli, Gregorio

Newton, Isaac

Pacioli, Luca

Pappus Alexandrinus

Salusbury, Thomas

Santbech, Daniel

Schott, Gaspar

Schreck, Johann Terrenz

Stelliola, Niccolò Antonio

Stevin, Simon

Tartaglia, Niccolò

Thomaz, Alvaro


Torricelli, Evangelista

Valerio, Luca

Varro, Michel

Vitruvius Pollio

Wolff, Christian von

Gassendi, Pierre (actually Pierre Gassend)

born on 22.1.1592 in Champtercier (near Digne), died on 24.10.-1655 in Paris, French physicist and philosopher

Gassendi began teaching rhetoric in Digne in 1613 and became a doctor of theology in Avignon in 1614. After being ordained as a priest in 1616, he became professor of philosophy in Aix-en-Provence in 1617. There he was initially a proponent of orthodox Aristotelianism. The astronomical discoveries of Galileo and Kepler, which he followed with great interest, alienated him from the Scholastics of the time, prompting him to resign his teaching position and return to Digne in 1623. He accepted a canonry in Grenoble, where he published his critique of the Aristotelian School of philosophy in 1624 (Exercitationes paradoxicae); however, Gassendi held back the second volume of this work (In dialectam Aristoteleroum) so that it was not published until 1658 as a posthumous work. M. Mersenne, whom he met during his visits to Paris in 1624 and 1628, convinced him to give up his mathematical and theological studies and focus on physics and philosophy. In his Epistolica exercitatio, published in 1630, he defends M. Mersenne against Robert Fludd’s attacks. During his trip to Holland (1629/1630) he made the acquaintance of I. Beekman. After returning to Digne in 1632, where he became provost of the cathedral in 1634, he concentrated on the ancient authors Lucretius, Sextus Empiricus and Epicurus. His tract Objectiones quintae, a critique of Descartes, was written in 1641, primarily at the request of M. Mersenne; he reacted to Descartes’ response in 1644 by writing Disquisitio metaphysica ... adversus R. Cartesii metaphysicam. Starting in 1654 Gassendi taught mathematics at the Collège Royal de France (today’s Collège de France) in Paris, but due to a respiratory condition he was forced to relinquish this position a mere three years later and retire to the healthier climate in the south of France, where he lived in Toulon for nearly two years. In 1647 he published the work De vita, moribus et doctrina Epicuri libri octo, followed in 1649 by Animadversiones in X librum Diog. Laer. and the even more important Syntagma philosophiae Epicuri. In 1653 he returned to Paris, but did not resume teaching; instead, he wrote the third version of his great Syntagma philosophicum, which was published posthumously as part of his Opera omnia in 1658.
Gassendi was dedicated to reconciling the atomism of Antiquity, the mechanistic philosophy of his age and Christian religion into a new harmony. He bases the principles of his theory of nature on the presuppositions of empty space and concrete, material existence. He believed that physical laws restrict the division of matter (which can be thought of mathematically as divisible without restriction) such that division is only possible down to the last indivisible parts (atoms). The number of atoms is incalculable (not infinite); furthermore, atoms are absolutely solid and impenetrable and possess “heaviness”. Gassendi explains changes in things as the result of atoms, which are separated from each other by empty space, connecting with and separating from each other. Gassendi was the first to formulate the scientific agenda for physics as the explanation of macro-physical characteristics of matter by means of the characteristics of atoms. His achievements in natural science range from astronomy (observation of a transit of Mercury) to mechanics (inertia, superposition of movements, law of gravity, determination of the speed of sound – in collaboration with M. Mersenne), to hydrostatics (differentiation between pressure and weight, confirmation of the existence of a vacuum using a barometer).

Digital texts (2 texts)



De motu impresso a motore translato epistulae duae
De proportione qua gravia decidentia accelerantur