Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
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Borelli, Giovanni Alfonso
Born Jan. 28, 1608, in Naples; died Dec. 31, 1679, in Rome. Italian naturalist. Professor at the universities of Messina (1649) and Pisa (1656). Did research in the fields of physics, astronomy, and physiology.
In 1670, Borelli established the inverse relationship between the height of a volume of fluid in a capillary tube and its diameter. He invented the heliostat. In his work on the movement of the planets (1666) he put forth the proposition that the movements of heavenly bodies are caused by the interaction of two forces—centrifugal and centripetal. Borelli was a major figure in iatromechanics. He worked out problems of anatomy and physiology from the point of view of mathematics and mechanics. He proved that the movements of the extremities and parts of the body in humans and animals in lifting weights, walking, running, and swimming can be explained by the principles of mechanics. He was the first to interpret the movement of the heart as a muscular contraction; he established the passivity of lung expansion by studying the mechanics of movements of the thorax.
WORKSDe motu animalium, vol. 1. Rome, 1680–81.
REFERENCESRosenberger, F. Istoriia fiziki, 2nd ed., part 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1937. (Translated from German.)
Nordenskiöld, E. Die Geschichte der Biologie. Jena, 1926.