logo Museo Galileo - Institute and Museum of the History of Science

After the years that had seen the flourishing of the physical and mathematical sciences and had produced such fundamentally important instruments as the "occhiale" (eyeglass lens) and the "occhialino" (microscope), fruit of Galileo’s research, the barometer, resulting from studies on the vacuum (1644) conducted by Evangelista Torricelli (1608-1647), and the "Florentine" thermometer, on which the members of the Accademia del Cimento had worked, scientific activity in Tuscany entered an inexorable decline. Cosimo III (1639-1723) enriched the Medicean collection by a few important pieces, such as the very new calculating machines, and ordered built the refined ebony-and-ivory frame in which to conserve, as in a reliquary, the objective lens with which Galileo had discovered the satellites of Jupiter (Medicea Sidera). Among the outstanding figures who worked for the last Medici Grand Dukes, one of the most important was Vincenzo Viviani (1622-1703), the last disciple of Galileo (1564-1642), a mathematician and engineer of great competence. It was he who inaugurated the process of glorification of the Pisan scientist that was to last up to and throughout the 19th century.