Redi, Francesco(fränchās`kō rā`dē), 1626?–1698?, Italian naturalist, poet, philologist, and court physician to the dukes of Tuscany. Through controlled experiments he demonstrated that certain living organisms, notably maggots in rotting meat, did not arise, as had been alleged, through spontaneous generation. His Generation of Insects (1668, tr. 1909) is included in the nine-octavo edition (1809–11) of his complete writings. His chief poetical work was the dithyrambic ode Bacchus in Tuscany (1685; tr. by Leigh Hunt 1825).
Born Feb. 18, 1626, in Arezzo; died Mar. 1, 1698, in Pisa. Italian naturalist and physician.
Redi’s principal works were on the generation of organisms and the biology of parasites that host on man and animals. In Experiments on the Generation of Insects (1668) Redi experimentally disproved the widely accepted theory of the spontaneous generation of organisms by proving that fly larvae develop only from the eggs deposited by flies. In another work (1684) he described the form and structure of various parasites (mainly tape- and roundworms) that inhabit the intestines of man and animals; he also described the reproductive organs of female and male ascarids in order to show that ascarids reproduce sexually. Redi was unable to discover the existence of eggs for some parasites and erroneously believed that such parasites formed from the “creative fluids” of the host organism.