Italian physicist. Born 1530 in Venezia/Venice, Italy. Died 1590 in Torino/Turin, Italy.
The son of a Spanish hidalgo, Benedetti was not educated at a university, apparently receiving a private education of equal quality. This education encompassed mathematics, physics, astronomy, philosophy and music. Among his teachers was Niccolo Tartaglia, who taught him from c. 1546 to c. 1548.
His first published work, De resolutione (1553), dealt with geometry, particularly Euclid's Elements. In later works, he began to explore aspects of physics, particularly mechanics.
From 1558 to 1566, he lived in Parma, as court mathematician to the Duke of Parma, Ottavio Farnese. Here, he published a work on astronomy, which dealt extensively with sundials. As was typical of the time, his interest in astronomy was coloured by astrology.
From 1567 to 1590, he served the Dukes of Savoy as mathematician and philosopher. He also helped design a number of public works. In 1570, the Duke granted Benedetti a patent of nobility. It was during his stay in Savoy that he published his most significant work, Diversarum speculationum (1585).
Benedetti's work in classical mechanics was significant in that it foreshadowed the later work of Galileo Galilei. His theory on the mechanics of falling bodies, which he first outlined in 1552, was very similar to Galileo's (published in De motu, 1590). As such, Benedetti was one of the contributors to the decline of Aristotelian physics.