Saturday, December 29, 2018

Niccolo Cabeo

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Niccolo Cabeo (1561-1636)

Cabeo, a Catholic priest who joined the Jesuits in 1602, is known for his two major publications, Philosophia magnetica (Magnetic philosophy)and In quatuor libros meteorologicorum Aristotelis commentaria (Commentary in four books on Aristotle’s Meteorology).(1)

His academic career happened mainly in Parma, following typical Jesuit curriculum, and included studying logic, natural philosophy, metaphysics, and theology, as well as mathematics.(1) After finishing his studies in 1616, he taught theology, philosophy, and metaphysics at Parma until 1621, then spending several years living at the Jesuit college in Ferrara, his birthplace, and also taught theology in the late 1620s.(1)

 His first book explained not only his own experimental investigations of terrestrial magnetism but also Gilbert’s, as well as explaining magnetized iron and lodestone, the mineral magnetite. (2) He also contributed to physics experiments, observing the Giovanni Battista Baliani experiments about falling objects.(2)

 He also experimented with pendulums.(2) Niccolo thought that the earth was immobile, and had no magnetic field.(1) In his first book Philosophia magnetica Cabeo stressed that all of his work sought out the causes of natural effects, saying that every discussion and idea he had was based upon experimental work, with the experiments being repeatedly performed.(2) Cabeo also confirmed Galileo’s claims that two bodies, no matter the weight, tend to fall at the same rate, as opposed to the heavier one falling faster, as long as they were of the same material.(2)

 At the end of his life, he returned to teaching at a Jesuit college.(1)

Niccolo Cabeo presented a new style of natural and experimental philosophy, becoming one of the most influential Jesuit natural philosophers of his time.(2)

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