Museo Galileo
Virtual Museum
Giovanni Poleni

Born in Venice and destined by his father to a legal career, turned instead to the study of mathematics and physics. In 1710, elected to the chair in astronomy and meteors at the University of Padua. That same year, elected fellow of the Royal Society of London. Later taught the following subjects at the University of Padua: physics (1715), mathematics (1719), experimental philosophy (physics) (1739), and nautical sciences and shipbuilding (1755). In 1740, in Padua, founded the first physics laboratory ever opened in an Italian university. His works were widely known and appreciated in the European scientific community. In 1715, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) sponsored his election to the Royal Academy of Berlin. An all-round humanist, in addition to his expertise in hydraulics and architecture, he was thoroughly familiar with the work of Vitruvius (?-25 B.C.E.). A music-lover, he was the patron of Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770).