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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index T > Evangelista Torricelli Quotes

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Evangelista Torricelli
(15 Oct 1608 - 25 Oct 1647)

Italian physicist and mathematician.


Science Quotes by Evangelista Torricelli (4 quotes)

Many have argued that a vacuum does not exist, others claim it exists only with difficulty in spite of the repugnance of nature; I know of no one who claims it easily exists without any resistance from nature.
— Evangelista Torricelli
Letter to Michelangelo Ricci (11 Jun 1644). Quoted in Archana Srinivasan, Great Inventors (2007), 27
Science quotes on:  |  Existence (254)  |  Vacuum (29)

The Geometer has the special privilege to carry out, by abstraction, all constructions by means of the intellect.
— Evangelista Torricelli
In Paolo Mancosu, Philosophy of Mathematics and Mathematical Practice in the Seventeenth Century (1999), 138-139.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstraction (29)  |  Construction (69)  |  Geometer (6)  |  Intellect (157)

We have made many glass vessels... with tubes two cubits long. These were filled with mercury, the open end was closed with the finger, and the tubes were then inverted in a vessel where there was mercury. We saw that an empty space was formed and that nothing happened in the vessel where this space was formed ... I claim that the force which keeps the mercury from falling is external and that the force comes from outside the tube. On the surface of the mercury which is in the bowl rests the weight of a column of fifty miles of air. Is it a surprise that into the vessel, in which the mercury has no inclination and no repugnance, not even the slightest, to being there, it should enter and should rise in a column high enough to make equilibrium with the weight of the external air which forces it up?
— Evangelista Torricelli
Quoted in Archana Srinivasan, Great Inventors (2007), 27-28.
Science quotes on:  |  Atmosphere (63)  |  Barometer (3)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Mercury (39)  |  Vacuum (29)

…winds are produced by differences of air temperature, and hence density, between two regions of earth.
— Evangelista Torricelli
Lecture to the Accademia della Crusca. Quoted in Archana Srinivasan, Great Inventors (2007), 29.
Science quotes on:  |  Density (11)  |  Temperature (42)  |  Wind (52)



Quotes by others about Evangelista Torricelli (1)

When Galileo caused balls, the weights of which he had himself previously determined, to roll down an inclined plane; when Torricelli made the air carry a weight which he had calculated beforehand to be equal to that of a definite volume of water; or in more recent times, when Stahl changed metal into lime, and lime back into metal, by withdrawing something and then restoring it, a light broke upon all students of nature. They learned that reason has insight only into that which it produces after a plan of its own, and that it must not allow itself to be kept, as it were, in nature's leading-strings, but must itself show the way with principles of judgement based upon fixed laws, constraining nature to give answer to questions of reason's own determining. Accidental observations, made in obedience to no previously thought-out plan, can never be made to yield a necessary law, which alone reason is concerned to discover.
Critique of Pure Reason (1781), trans. Norman Kemp Smith (1929), 20.
Science quotes on:  |  Discovery (591)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Galileo Galilei (101)  |  Insight (57)  |  Judgement (4)  |  Law (418)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Observation (418)  |  Plan (69)  |  Reason (330)  |  Georg Ernst Stahl (8)


See also:
  • 15 Oct - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Torricelli's birth.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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