Scientist Evangelista Torricelli (1608-1647) was one of the most prominent figures of the 17th century. Although he came from humble beginnings, he grew up in a privileged environment. In his studies, he was surrounded by people of the caliber of Cavalieri and Galileo Galilei. His work and legacy prepared the arrival of the industrial era, which we owe many of today’s technological advances. Evangelista Torricelli’s biography provides an overview of his great contributions.

Summary of Evangelista Torricelli’s biography

The index

  • Educated and gifted with a brilliant mind

  • Discoveries in science

  • Mathematician Evangelista Torricelli

Educated and gifted with a brilliant mind

Evangelista Torricelli was born on October 15, 1608, in Faenza, Italy. He was the son of Giacoma Torricelli and Gaspare Ruberti, who worked as a textile worker. His maternal uncle Jacopo Torricelli took care of Evangelista after he was orphaned at a very young age. His primary education was overseen by a Camaldolese friar. With Benedetto Castelli by his side, Jacopo sent Evangelista to Rome, recognizing his enormous potential.

Benedictine professor Benedetto Castelli taught mathematics at the University of La Sapienza in Rome. Evangelista Torricelli studied and learned about science with him. Torricelli was greatly inspired to write his own ideas about Galileo Galilei after reading Dialogue of the New Science (1630), a work by Galileo Galilei. De Motu is a work he wrote about movement and mechanics. After reading Galileo’s work, Castelli contacts him.


At Sapienza University, Evangelista Torricelli served as Benedetto Castelli’s secretary and substitute since the professor traveled constantly.

As a result of reading De Motu, Galileo Galilei decided to take Evangelista Torricelli as a disciple. In Florence, he studied under the tutelage of Galilei, who had already lost his sight and needed someone to take notes for him. Evangelista served as Galileo Galilei’s amanuensis during the last three months of his life.

Galileo’s comment to the young man from Faentino led him to one of the most important scientific discoveries of the time, which changed the way he saw the world and nature.

Discovery of new scientific knowledge

In 1642, Evangelista Torricelli wanted to return to Rome after the death of Galileo Galilei, but he was presented with a chance he could not refuse. The Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand II, appointed him professor of philosophy and mathematics at his court, and the University of Florence appointed him professor of mathematics. The duke of Florence invited Torricelli to live permanently in his palace.

Please note

Galileo was open-minded, but he was also conservative in some respects, and he suggested to Evangelista Torricelli that vacuum be considered relative, which led to the discovery of atmospheric pressure.

A series of experiments conducted by Evangelista Torricelli in 1643 proved the existence of atmospheric pressure. The Torricelli theory went against the traditional Aristotelian view that nature simply produced a repulsion to the vacuum, but did not consider the weight of this repulsion.

In order to determine if Torricelli’s theory was correct, he tested if this phenomenon was mechanical in nature. In an experiment, he filled a bucket with mercury and inserted a tube 1.2 meters long into it. One side of this tube was closed and the other was open. Inverting the tube over the bucket, he filled it with mercury, which is denser than water.

He was able to confirm his suspicions by observing the results of this experiment, which proved the existence of atmospheric pressure. It is the pressure that surrounds us that causes liquids to occupy the space from which air is withdrawn, not the vacuum, as previously believed. As a result, the barometer could be created and constructed.

A brilliant mathematician, Evangelista Torricelli

Torricelli’s true passion was mathematics, despite his great discoveries in physics. In his Geometric Opera , Torricelli published the solutions to many of the most troubling mathematical enigmas and problems of the time.

According to Torricelli, if several objects are arranged in series in such a way that the center of gravity of each object cannot move up or down, then they are in equilibrium. Also, as a great friend and disciple of Galileo, he discovered the paraboloid in revolution, and he perfected Cavalieri’s method of indivisibles.

His previous discoveries in physics led him to postulate what is currently known as Torricelli’s Theorem, which explains how gravity affects the speed of liquid flowing through an orifice of a container.

As well as advancements in lens manufacturing, Evangelista Torricelli is credited with many other achievements. It is due to his efforts that the telescope was considerably improved and the microscope was constructed. Even though he came from humble origins, he was greatly rewarded by Duke Ferdinand II. Typhoid fever, which he contracted in 1647, caused his early death in the scientific community at the time.

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