Born:. December 10, 1631
Died: February 22, 1687
Brescia, Italy

Jesuit Priest, mathematician, and naturalist. As further evidence of his contributions to the field of aeronautics have emerged over time, he's come to be known as the scientific founder/father of aeronautics.

In 1670 he published a small volume of his discoveries entitled "Prodromo overo saggio di alcune inventioni." Two chapters of this addressed aeronautical principles in which he described an "aerial ship" that would be "lighter than air," held aloft by four large spheres made out of very thin copper. The air inside the spheres would be removed, or in general, lighter than the weight of the spheres themselves. Thus, since the spheres are lighter than the air outside of them, they would float.

The principle works, we all now know, but the spheres would have been crushed by the outside air pressure. In his second volume he improves upon this theory, suggesting other materials such as wood or glass for building the spheres, and discussed the need for ballast and internal air pressure increases for controlling descent.

These writings are the first scientific records of a vacuum balloon, and they directly contributed toward making the first successful lighter-than-air flight possible.

Horizons Unlimited, Published by CAP
The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia @

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