Evangelista Torricelli

Topics: Evangelista Torricelli, Pressure, Vacuum Pages: 2 (460 words) Published: April 26, 2013
Torricelli was born on 15 October in 1608 in Faenza in the Province of Ravenna. He was an Italian physicist and mathematician, best known for his invention of the barometer. His father was a textile worker and the family was very poor. Seeing his talents, his parents sent him to be educated under the care of his uncle, Jacobo, a Camaldolese monk, who first ensured that his nephew was given a sound basic education. He then entered young Torricelli into a Jesuit College in 1624, possibly the one in Faenza itself, to study mathematics and philosophy until 1626, by which time his father, Gaspare, had died.The uncle then sent Torricelli to Rome to study science under the Benedictine monk Benedetto Castelli, professor of mathematics at the Collegio della SapienzaHe served as secretary to Galileo during the last three months of the latter's life and was appointed to succeed him at the Florentine Academy. Two years later, pursuing a suggestion by Galileo, he filled a glass tube 4 ft (1.2 m) long with mercury and inverted the tube into a dish. He observed that some of the mercury did not flow out and that the space above the mercury in the tube was a vacuum. After much observation, he concluded that the variation of the height of the mercury from day to day was caused by changes in atmospheric pressure. He never published his findings. His work in geometry aided in the eventual development of integral calculus.Torricelli's chief invention was the mercury barometer, which arose from solving a practical problem. Pump makers of the Grand Duke of Tuscany attempted to raise water to a height of 12 meters or more, but found that 10 meters was the limit with a suction pump. Torricelli employed mercury, fourteen times more dense than water. In 1643 he created a tube approximately one meter long, sealed at the top, filled it with mercury, and set it vertically into a basin of mercury. The column of mercury fell to about 76 cm, leaving a Torricellian vacuum above. As we now know,...
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