Teaching sunspots: Disciplinary identity and scholarly practice in the Collegio Romano

  • Article
  • 24 pages
  • Level: university

This 2014 by Renee Raphael, published in the journal History of Science, discusses how the subject of sunspots was addressed by professors at the Jesuit Roman College during the seventeenth century, when the nature of sunspots was a matter of controversy:

Abstract: This article examines how Jesuit Gabriele Beati (1607-1673) taught the subject of sunspots in two textbooks commemorating his teaching of natural philosophy and mathematics at the Collegio Romano. Whereas Beati defended the incorruptibility of the heavens in his natural philosophical course, he argued that sunspots were located on the face of the sun itself and generated and corrupted like terrestrial clouds in his mathematical one. While it may be tempting to attribute these different presentations to censorship practices within the Jesuit Order, they are best understood as the result of disciplinary distinctions and scholarly practices shared widely by scholars across Europe.

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