Ruđer Bošković, The Mastermind Of The 18th Century

(Dubrovnik, 1711 – Milan, 1787)

Ruđer Josip Bošković was a physicist, astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, diplomat, poet, theologian, and a Jesuit priest, although released from religious duties, to devote himself to scientific work and teaching.

He was born in Dubrovnik, as the seventh child of eight. At the age of eight, Ruđer enrolled at the local Jesuit University Collegium Ragusinum.

In 1725, he left Dubrovnik to continue his education in Rome, at the Society of Jesus. His progress in rhetoric, philosophy, mathematics, and physics was so brilliant that at the age of 29, he became a professor of mathematics at the same college.

Ruđer Bošković founded an exact scientific approach to solving static issues in construction. In 1742, when the dome of the St. Peter’s Church in Rome cracked, the pope Benedict XIV personally requested Bošković to make a study for securing its stability. His suggestion of placing five concentric iron bands onto the dome was applied, and thanks to him, we still enjoy the Michelangelo’s masterpiece.

He could not settle down anywhere, thanks to his fiery nature and easily acquired enemies. He worked and lived in most of the European scientific centers, from Paris and London, over Istanbul and Warsaw, to Rome and Pavia. He founded the observatory in Brera.

He was a member of the Russian Academy of Science, as well as the London Royal Society.

After the cessation of the Jesuit Order, Ruđer Bošković moved to Paris in 1774, where he received the French citizenship. He died of pneumonia, in Milan, buried in the church of Santa Maria Pedone.

Throughout his life, Bošković remained attached to the hometown, for which he had been engaged in diplomatic affairs, although he returned home just once, in 1747, for a short visit.

THE PRECURSOR OF THE ATOMIC THEORY

The modern physics of the 20th century finally fully expressed and proved many of the ideas that Bošković had in his work.

Today, Ruđer Bošković is considered the precursor of the atomic theory. In 1758, he published the first edition of his famous work, The Theory of Natural Philosophy. There he introduced the law of force, which is repulsive on small inter-electronically distances, and attractive at great distances, later developed by Michael Faraday. The modern, so-called Bohr model of atoms is a direct consequence of Bošković’s atomic model.

For his contributions to astronomy, a lunar crater was named after him. Come on the Dubrovnik city tour, and I’ll introduce you to this genius.

Ruđer Bošković portrait

Portrait of Ruđer Bošković exhibited in the Cultural and Historical Museum in Dubrovnik (Rector’s Palace).

Ruđer Bošković, The Mastermind Of The 18th Century

(Dubrovnik, 1711 – Milan, 1787)

Ruđer Josip Bošković was a physicist, astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, diplomat, poet, theologian, and a Jesuit priest, although released from religious duties, to devote himself to scientific work and teaching.

He was born in Dubrovnik, as the seventh child of eight. At the age of eight, Ruđer enrolled at the local Jesuit University Collegium Ragusinum.

In 1725, he left Dubrovnik to continue his education in Rome, at the Society of Jesus. His progress in rhetoric, philosophy, mathematics, and physics was so brilliant that at the age of 29, he became a professor of mathematics at the same college.

Ruđer Bošković founded an exact scientific approach to solving static issues in construction. In 1742, when the dome of the St. Peter’s Church in Rome cracked, the pope Benedict XIV personally requested Bošković to make a study for securing its stability. His suggestion of placing five concentric iron bands onto the dome was applied, and thanks to him, we still enjoy the Michelangelo’s masterpiece.

He could not settle down anywhere, thanks to his fiery nature and easily acquired enemies. He worked and lived in most of the European scientific centers, from Paris and London, over Istanbul and Warsaw, to Rome and Pavia. He founded the observatory in Brera.

He was a member of the Russian Academy of Science, as well as the London Royal Society.

After the cessation of the Jesuit Order, Ruđer Bošković moved to Paris in 1774, where he received the French citizenship. He died of pneumonia, in Milan, buried in the church of Santa Maria Pedone.

Throughout his life, Bošković remained attached to the hometown, for which he had been engaged in diplomatic affairs, although he returned home just once, in 1747, for a short visit.

Ruđer Bošković portrait

Portrait of Ruđer Bošković exhibited in the Cultural and Historical Museum in Dubrovnik (Rector’s Palace).

THE PRECURSOR OF THE ATOMIC THEORY

The modern physics of the 20th century finally fully expressed and proved many of the ideas that Bošković had in his work.

Today, Ruđer Bošković is considered the precursor of the atomic theory. In 1758, he published the first edition of his famous work, The Theory of Natural Philosophy. There he introduced the law of force, which is repulsive on small inter-electronically distances, and attractive at great distances, later developed by Michael Faraday. The modern, so-called Bohr model of atoms is a direct consequence of Bošković’s atomic model.

For his contributions to astronomy, a lunar crater was named after him. Come on the Dubrovnik city tour, and I’ll introduce you to this genius.

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