Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Giovanni Inghirami

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Italian astronomer, b. at Volterra, Tuscany, 16 April, 1779; d. at Florence, 15 August, 1851. He was of a noble family which produced two other distinguished scholars, Tommaso (1470-1516), humanist, and Francesco (1772-1846), archaeologist, brother of Giovanni. His education was received in his native city at the College of Saint Michael, conducted by the Piarists, popularly called the "Scolopi". This order he joined at the age of seventeen, and later became professor of mathematics and philosophy at Volterra, where one of his pupils was the future Pius IX. In 1805 he travelled into the north of Italy, and was engaged for some months in scientific work at Milan. He was called to Florence to fill the twofold office of professor of mathematics and astronomy at the College of the Scolopi, known from the adjacent church as the College of San Giovannino, and of director of the college observatory established by the Jesuit, Leonard Ximenes. His first publications were articles on hydraulics, statics, and astronomy, astronomical tables, and elementary text-books on mathematics and mathematical geography. In 1830 after observations extending over fourteen years, he published, with the patronage of the Grand Duke Ferdinand III, a "Carta topografica e geometica della Toscana" on the scale of 1:200,000 — a work of high merit. When the Berlin Academy of Sciences undertook the construction of an exhaustive astronomical atlas, he was assigned a section. His performance of this task won great praise. He became successively provincial and general of his order, but his failing health and his love for scientific work caused him to resign the latter office, which had required his taking up residence in Rome, and to accept the position of vicar-general. He returned to Florence and, although almost blind for some years, continued his teaching until a few months before his death. Simplicity and piety were dominant traits of his character. The scientific works of Inghirami include: numerous articles published in the "Astronomische Nachrichen", in Zach's "Monatliche Correspondenz zur Beförderung der Erd-u. Himmelskunde" and in his own "collezione di opusculi e notizie di Scienze" (4 vols., Florence, 1820-30); "Tavole Astronomiche universali portatili" (ibid., 1811), and "Effemeridi di Venere e Giove ad uso di naviganti pel meridiano di Parigi" (ibid., 1821-24).

ANTONELLI, Sulla vita e sulle opere di Giov. Inghirami (Florence, 1854); VON REUMONT, Beitrage sur italienischen Geschichle, VI ) Berlin, 1857), 472 sq.

Paul H. Linehan.