A portrait of Boskovic, published in Milano in 1818 in a collection of famous people living between 18th century the beginning of the 19th.
Ruđer Josip BoškovićBorn 18 May 1711 (1711-05-18)
Dubrovnik, Republic of Ragusa (today Croatia)
Died 13 February 1787 (aged 75)
Milan, Duchy of Milan
Residence Dubrovnik, Rome, Venice, Paris, Istanbul, Milan, Bassano
Fields Theology, Physics, Astronomy, Mathematics, Natural philosophy, Diplomacy, Poetry
Institutions Brera Observatory, University of Pavia
Alma mater Pontifical Gregorian University
Known for precursor of the Atomic theory, founder of Brera Observatory
Ruđer Josip Bošković ( French: Roger Joseph Boskovich , Italian: Ruggero Giuseppe Boscovich , Latin: Rogerius Josephus Boscovich ) (18 May 1711 – 13 February 1787) was a theologian, physicist, astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, diplomat, poet, Jesuit, and a polymath from the city of Dubrovnik in the Republic of Ragusa (today in Croatia), who studied and lived in Italy and France.
He is famous for his atomic theory and made many important contributions to astronomy, including the first geometric procedure for determining the equator of a rotating planet from three observations of a surface feature and for computing the orbit of a planet from three observations of its position. In 1753 he also discovered the absence of atmosphere on the Moon.
Bošković was born in Dubrovnik in the Republic of Ragusa (also known as the Republic of Dubrovnik, "Ragusa" being the Latin name for Dubrovnik). He was baptized on 26 May 1711 by Marinus Carolis, curatus et sacristia; the name may have been given to him because both his great-grandfather Agostini Bettera and his mother's brother were called Ruggiero, the godparent was his uncle Ruggiero Bettera. He was the seventh child of Nikola Bošković, a merchant born in 1642, at Orahov Do near Ravno in what was then the Ottoman Empire and is now Bosnia and Herzegovina. He knew his father only as a bedridden invalid with paralyzed legs and who died when Roger was a child of 10, was rich in trading experience and knowledge of that part of the Ottoman Empire.
Bošković's mother, Paola Bettera (1674–1777) was a member of a cultivated Italian merchant family established in Dubrovnik since the early seventeenth century, to where her ancestor, Pietro Bettera, had come from Bergamo in northern Italy. She was a robust and active woman with a happy temperament who lived to 103. She left nothing in writing, but Bošković's aunt, her sister, wrote poetry in Italian. Their sons, Ruđer's cousins and playmates, Antun Bošković and Franjo Bošković, grew up into good Latinists. His own brothers and sisters were all older than himself, except his sister Anica Bošković (1714–1804), two years his junior. His eldest sister Mare Bošković, nineteen years his senior, was the only member of the family to marry; his second sister Marija Bošković became a nun in the Ragusa Convent of St Catherine’s. His eldest brother Božo Bošković (Boško), thirteen years older, joined the service of the Ragusa Republic. His brother Bartolomej (Baro) Bošković, born in 1700 and educated at the Jesuit school in Dubrovnik, left home when Roger was 3 to become a scholar and a Jesuit priest in Rome. He too wrote good verse in both Latin and "Illyrian" (early Serbo-Croatian), but eventually burnt some of his manuscripts out of a scrupulous modesty. His brother Ivan (Đivo) Bošković became a Dominican in a sixteenth-century monastery in Dubrovnik, whose church Ruđer knew as a child with its rich treasures and paintings by Titian and Vasari, still there today. His brother Petar (Pero) Bošković, six years his senior, became a poet like his grandfather. He, too, was schooled by the Jesuits, then served as an official of the Republic and made his reputation as a translator of Ovid, Corneille’s Cid and of Molière. A volume of his religious verse, Hvale Duhovne, was published in Venice in 1729.
At the age of 8 or 9, after acquiring the rudiments of reading and writing from the priest Nicola Nicchei of the Church of St. Nicholas, Ruđer was sent for schooling to the local Jesuit Collegium Regusinum. During his early studies Ruđer Bošković showed a distinct propensity for further intellectual development. He gained a reputation at school for having an easy memory and a quick, deep mind.
On 16 September 1725, Ruđer Bošković left Dubrovnik for Rome. He was in the care of two Jesuit priests who took him to the Society of Jesus, famous for its education of youth and at that time having some 800 establishments and 200,000 pupils under its care throughout the world. We learn nothing from Bošković himself until the time he entered the novitiate in 1731, but it was the usual practice for novices to spend the first two years not in the Collegium Romanum, but in Sant'Andrea delle Fratte. There, he studied mathematics and physics; and so brilliant was his progress in these sciences that in 1740 he was appointed professor of mathematics in the college.
He was especially appropriate for this post due to his acquaintance with recent advances in science, and his skill in a classical severity of demonstration, acquired by a thorough study of the works of the Greek geometers. Several years before this appointment he had made a name for himself with an elegant solution of the problem of finding the Sun's equator and determining the period of its rotation by observation of the spots on its surface.
Coat-of-arms of the House of Bošković
Notwithstanding the arduous duties of his professorship, he found time for investigation in all the fields of physical science, and he published a very large number of dissertations, some of them of considerable length. Among the subjects were the transit of Mercury, the Aurora Borealis (corona), the figure of the Earth, the observation of the fixed stars, the inequalities in terrestrial gravitation, the application of mathematics to the theory of the telescope, the limits of certainty in astronomical observations, the solid of greatest attraction, the cycloid, the logistic curve, the theory of comets, the tides, the law of continuity, the double refraction micrometer, and various problems of spherical trigonometry.
In 1742 he was consulted, with other men of science, by Pope Benedict XIV, as to the best means of securing the stability of the dome of St. Peter's, Rome, in which a crack had been discovered. His suggestion of placing five concentric iron bands was adopted.
In 1745 Bošković published De Viribus Vivis in which he tried to find a middle way between Isaac Newton's gravitational theory and Gottfried Leibniz's metaphysical theory of monad-points. He developed a concept of "impenetrability" as a property of hard bodies which explained their behaviour in terms of force rather than matter. Stripping atoms of their matter, impenetrability is disassociated from hardness and then put in an arbitrary relationship to elasticity. Impenetrability has a Cartesian sense that more than one point cannot occupy the same location at once. Bošković visited his hometown only once in 1747, never to return.
He agreed to take part in the Portuguese expedition for the survey Brazil and the measurement of a degree of arc of the meridian, but was persuaded by the Pope to stay in Italy and to undertake a similar task there with Christopher Maire, an English Jesuit who measured an arc of two degrees between Rome and Rimini. The operation began at the end of 1750, and was completed in about two years. An account was published in 1755, under the name De Litteraria expeditione per pontificiam ditionem ad dimetiendos duos meridiani gradus a PP. Maire et Boscovicli. The value of this work was increased by a carefully prepared map of the States of the Church. A French translation appeared in 1770 which incorporated, as an appendix, some material first published in 1760 outlining an objective procedure for determining suitable values for the parameters of the fitted model from a greater number of observations. An unconstrained variant of this fitting procedure is now known as the L1-norm or Least absolute deviations procedure and serves as a robust alternative to the familiar L2-norm or Least Squares procedure.
A dispute arose between Francis the Grand Duke of Tuscany and the republic of Lucca with respect to the drainage of a lake. As agent of Lucca, Bošković was sent, in 1757, to Vienna and succeeded in bringing about a satisfactory arrangement in the matter.
The first page of figures from Theoria Philosophiæ Naturalis from 1763. Figure 1 is the force curve which received so much attention from later natural philosophers such as Joseph Priestley, Humphrey Davy, and Michael Faraday. The ordinate is force, with positive values being repulsive, and the abscissa is radial distance. Newton's gravitational attractive force is clearly seen at the far right of figure 1.
|In Venice in 1758, he published the first edition of his famous work, Theoria philosophiae naturalis redacta ad unicam legem virium in natura existentium (Theory of Natural philosophy derived to the single Law of forces which exist in Nature), containing his atomic theory and his theory of forces . A second edition was published in 1763 in Venice, a third in 1922 in London, and a fourth in 1966 in the United States. A fifth edition was published in Zagreb in 1974.|
Another occasion to exercise his diplomatic ability soon arose. The British government suspected that warships had been outfitted in the port of Dubrovnik for the service of France and that therefore the neutrality of the Republic of Ragusa had been violated. Bošković was selected to undertake an ambassadorship to London (1760), to vindicate the character of his native place and satisfy the government. This mission he discharged successfully — a credit to him and a delight to his countrymen. During his stay in England he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society.
In 1761 astronomers were preparing to observe the transit of Venus across the Sun. Under the influence of the Royal Society Bošković decided to travel to Istanbul. He arrived late and then traveled to Poland via Bulgaria and Moldavia then proceeding to Saint Petersburg where he was elected as a member of Russian Academy of Sciences. Ill health compelled him soon to return to Italy.
In 1764 he was called to serve as the chair of mathematics at the university of Pavia, and he held this post with the directorship of the observatory of Brera in Milan, for six years.
He was invited by the Royal Society of London to undertake an expedition to California to observe the transit of Venus in 1769 again, but this was prevented by the recent decree of the Spanish government expelling Jesuits from its dominions. Bošković had many enemies and he was driven to frequent changes of residence. About 1777 he returned to Milan, where he kept teaching and directing the Brera observatory.
Deprived of his post by the intrigues of his associates, he was about to retire to Dubrovnik when in 1773 the news of the suppression of his order in Italy reached him.
In 1783 he returned to Italy, and spent two years at Bassano, occupying himself with the publication of his Opera pertinentia ad opticam et astronomiam, etc., published in 1785 in five volumes quarto.
After a visit of some months to the convent of Vallombrosa, he went to Brera in 1786 and resumed his work. At that time his health was failing, his reputation was on the wane, his works did not sell, and he gradually fell prey to illness and disappointment. He died in Milan and was buried in the church of St. Maria Podone.
In addition to the works already mentioned Bošković published Elementa universae matheseos (1754), the substance of the course of study prepared for his pupils, and a narrative of his travels entitled Giornale di un viaggio da Costantinopoli in Polonia (A diary of the journey from Constantinople to Poland) (1762), of which several editions and a French translation appeared.
Ruđer Josip Bošković Portrait by Robert Edge Pine, London, 1760.
His atomic theory, given as a clear, precisely-formulated system utilizing principles of Newtonian mechanics inspired Michael Faraday to develop field theory for electromagnetic interaction. Other nineteenth century physicists, such as William Rowan Hamilton, Lord Kelvin, and the elasticity theorist Saint Vernant stressed the theoretical advantages of the Boškovićian atom over rigid atoms. Some even claim that Boškovićian atomism was a basis for Albert Einstein's attempts for a unified field theory and that he was the first to envisage, seek, and propose a mathematical theory of all the forces of Nature; the first scientific theory of everything.
The scientist Nikola Tesla, a critic of Einstein, claimed in an unpublished interview that Einstein's theory of Relativity was the creation of Bošković:
“ ...the relativity theory, by the way, is much older than its present proponents. It was advanced over 200 years ago by my illustrious countryman Ruđer Bošković, the great philosopher, who, not withstanding other and multifold obligations, wrote a thousand volumes of excellent literature on a vast variety of subjects. Bošković dealt with relativity, including the so-called time-space continuum ...'. ”
For his contributions to astronomy, the lunar crater Boscovich was named after him.
The largest multidisciplinary research center in Croatia was named the "Ruđer Bošković Institute" in his honour.
|The modern concept of nationality, based on ethnic concepts as language, culture, religion, custom, etc., was developed only in the 19th century. For this reason the attribution of a definite "nationality" to personalities of the previous centuries, living in ethnically mixed regions, is often indeterminable; Bošković's legacy is consequently celebrated by several states: Croatia and Serbia..
Croatian sources stress that he referred to his Croatian identity. In writings to his sister Anica (Anna), he told her he had not forgotten the Croatian language.
When he was in Vienna in 1757, he spotted Croatian soldiers going to the battlefields of the Seven Years' War and immediately rode out to see them, wishing them 'Godspeed' in Croatian. While living in Paris and attending to a military parade where he saw a Croatian unit from Ragusa, his words were: "there are, my brave Croats". The largest Croatian institute of natural sciences and technology, based in Zagreb bears his name. His picture was on Croatian dinar banknotes valid from 1991 until 1994, when the dinar was replaced by the Croatian kuna.
Bošković on a Croatian dinar banknote from the 1991 to 1993. Bank notes of Republic of Croatia from 1991 to 1993 carried Boscovich's image:
Serbs claim that his family origins were in Montenegro which would make him a Montenegrin. The Astronomical Society Ruđer Bošković based in the Serbia's capital Belgrade bears his name.
* French: Roger Joseph Boskovich
* Italian: Ruggero Giuseppe Boscovich
* Latin: Rogerius Josephus Boscovich
Boscovich stamp, Nezavisna Država Hrvatska, CROATIA, 1943
A Comemorative Boscovich stamp
Ruđer Josip Bošković stamp, YUGOSLAVIA, 1960
Boscovich published eight scientific dissertations prior to his 1744 ordination as a priest and appointment as a professor and another 14 afterwards. The following is a partial list of his publications:
* The Sunspots (1736)
* De maculis solaribus exercitatio astronomica (1736)
* De Mercurii novissimo infra Solem transitu (1737)
* Trigonometriae sphaericae constructio (1737)
* The Aurora Borealis (1738)
* De novo telescopii usu ad objecta coelestia determinanda (1739)
* De veterum argumentis pro telluris sphaericitate (1739)
* Dissertatio de telluris figura (1739)
* De Circulis osculatoribus, Dissertatio (1740)
* De motu corporum projectorum in spatio non resistente (1741)
* De inaequalitate gravitatis in diversis terrae locis (1741)
* De natura et usu infinitorum et infinite parvorum (1741)
* De annusi fixarum aberrationibus (1942)
* De observationibus astronomicis et quo pertingat earundem certitudo (1742)
* Disquisitio in universam astronomiam (1742)
* Parere di tre Matematici sopra i danni che si sono trovati nella Cupola di S. Pietro (1942)
* De motu corporis attracti in centrum immobile viribus decrescentibus in ratione distantiarum reciproca duplicata in spatiis non resistentibus (1743)
* Riflessioni de' Padri Tommaso Le Seur, Francesco Jacquier de el' Ordine de' Minimi, e Ruggiero Giuseppe Boscovich della Compagnia di Gesù Sopra alcune difficoltà spettanti i danni, e Risarcimenti della Cupola Di S. Pietro (1743)
* Nova methodus adhibendi phasium observationes in eclipsibus lunaribus ad exercendam geometriam et promovendam astronomiam (1744)
* De cycloide et logistica (1745)
* De Viribus Vivis (1745)
* Trigonometria sphaerica (1745)
* De cometis (1746)
* Dissertatio de maris aestu (1747)
* Dissertatio de lumine, 1-2 (1748/1749)
* De determinanda orbita planetae ope catoptricae ex datis vi celeritate & directione motus in dato puncto (1749)
* Sopra il Turbine che la notte tra gli XI e XII giugno del MDCCXLIX danneggio una gran parte di Roma (1749; latin translation 1766)
* De centrogravitatis (1751)
* Elementorum matheseos ad usum studiosae juventutis (1752)
* De lunae atmosphaera (1753)
* De continuitatis lege et eius consectariis pertinentibus ad prima materiae elementa eorumque vires dissertatio (1754)
* Elementorium universae matheseos, 1-3 (1757)
* De lege virium in natura existentium (1755)
* De lentibus et telescopiis dioptricis disertatio (1755)
* De inaequalitatibus quas Saturnus et Jupiter sibi mutuo videntur inducere praesertim circa tempus conjunctionis (1756)
* "The Theory of Natural Philosophy (1758) - link to full text
* De Solis ac Lunae defectibus libri (1960)
* Scrittura sulli danni osservati nell' edificio della Biblioteca Cesarea di Vienna, e loro riparazione (1763)
* Memorie sopra il Porti di Rimini (1765)
* Sentimento sulla solidità della nuova Guglia del Duomo di Milano (1765)
* dissertationes quinque ad dioptricam pertinentes (1767)
* Voyage astronomique et geographique (1770)
* Memorie sulli cannocchiali diottrici (1771)
* Journal d'un voyage de Constantinopole en Pologne (1772)
* Sullo sbocco dell'Adige in Mare (1779)
* Riflessioni sulla relazione del Sig. Abate Ximenes appartenente al Progetto di un nuovo Ozzeri nello Stato Lucchese (1782)
* Giornale di un viaggio da Constantinopoli in Polonia dell'abate Ruggiero Giuseppe Boscovich, con una sua relazione delle rovine di Troia (1784)
* Opera pertinentia ad opticam et astronomiam, 1-5 (1785)
* Sui danni del Porto di Savona, loro cagioni e rimedi (1892)
* Lettere a Giovan Stefano Conti (1980)
1. ^ Biography: Roger Joseph Boscovich, S.J., Fairchild University website.
2. ^ Remarkable Physicists by Ioan Mackenzie James
3. ^ Энциклопедия для детей (астрономия). Москва: Аванта+. 1998. ISBN 5-89501-016-4.
4. ^ a b '"Roger Joseph Boscovich'" SJ FRS, 1711 -1787 Studies of his life and work on the 250th anniversary of his birth, edited L L Whyte, George Allen and Unwin, London, 1961. This is disputed by Harold L. Burstyn in this review.
5. ^ a b "Roger Joseph Boscovich". Studies in His Life and Work on the 250th Anniversary of His Birth
6. ^ The Conflict between Atomism and Conservation Theory 1644 - 1860 by Wilson L. Scott, London and New York, 1970
7. ^ Cohesion by John Shipley Rowlinson
8. ^ http://www.ndu.edu/inss/McNair/mcnair52/m52c10n.html
9. ^ Buck, Otto (1904), "Die Atomistik und Faradays Begriff der Materie", Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 18: 154,
10. ^ New theories of everything, John D. Barrow, Oxford University Press, UK 2007 p.21
11. ^ 1936 unpublished interview, quoted in Anderson, L, ed. Nikola Tesla: Lecture Before the New York Academy of Sciences. April 6, 1897 : The Streams of Lenard and Roentgen and Novel Apparatus for Their Production, reconstructed 1994
12. ^ a b Dadić, Žarko. Ruđer Bošković (Parallel text in Croatian and English). Zagreb: Školska Knjiga, 1987
13. ^ a b Harris, Robin. Dubrovnik, A History. London: Saqi Books, 2003. ISBN 0 86356 332 5
14. ^ Slobodan Šćepanović, О поријеклу породице и коријенима предака Руђера Бошковића, Историјски записи 3/1995, Podgorica 1995
* This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (Eleventh ed.). Cambridge University Press.
* Boscovich, Ruggero Giuseppe. A Theory of Natural Philosophy. Translated by J. M. Child. English ed. Cambridge, Mass.,: M. I. T. Press, 1966.
* Brush, Stephen G. The Kind of Motion We Call Heat : A History of the Kinetic Theory of Gases in the 19th Century. Vol. 6 Studies in Statistical Mechanics. New York: North-Holland Pub. Co., 1976.
* Brush, Stephen G. Statistical Physics and the Atomic Theory of Matter : From Boyle and Newton to Landau and Onsager Princeton Series in Physics. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1983.
* Bursill-Hall, Piers, ed. R.J. Boscovich; Vita E Attivita Scientifica; His Life and Scientific Work. Roma: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1993.
* Dadić, Žarko. Ruđer Bošković (Parallel text in Croatian and English). Zagreb: Školska Knjiga, 1987
* Dimitric, Radoslav. Ruđer Bošković (Serbian, with English summary, Bošković works in original, and translations into English and Serbian). Pittsburgh: Helios Publishing Company, 2006, ISBN 978-0-9788256-2-1
* Feingold, Mordechai. "A Jesuit among Protestants: Boscovich in England C. 1745-1820." In R.J. Boscovich; Vita E Attivita Scientifica; His Life and Scientific Work, ed. Piers Bursill-Hall, 511-526. Roma: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1993.
* Franolić, Branko. Bošković in Britain, Journal of Croatian Studies Vol. 43, 2002 Croatian Academy of America, New York US ISSN 0075-4218
* Hrvatski biografski leksikon [The Croatian Biographical Lexicon]. Zagreb 1989. Vol 2, pp 194-199. ISBN 86-7053-015-5
* Justin, Rodriguez. "Scientific Revolution Atomic Projects." Stevens Journal of Oral Traditions, no. 1 (200?): xlv-xc.
* Kargon, Robert. "William Rowan Hamilton, Michael Faraday, and the Revival of Boscovichean Atomism." American Journal of Physics 32, no. 10 (1964): 792-795.
* Kargon, Robert. "William Rowan Hamilton and Boscovichean Atomism." Journal of the History of Ideas 26, no. 1 (1965): 137-140.
* Katritsky, Linde. "Coleridge's Links with Leading Men of Science." Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 49, no. 2 (1995): 261-276.
* Priestley, Joseph, and Robert E. Schofield. A Scientific Autobiography of Joseph Priestley, 1733-1804; Selected Scientific Correspondence. Cambridge,: M.I.T. Press, 1966.
* Scott, Wilson L. "The Significance Of "Hard Bodies" In the History of Scientific Thought." Isis 50, no. 3 (1959): 199-210.
* Whyte, Lancelot Law, ed. Roger Joseph Boscovich, S.J., F.R.S., 1711-1787: Studies of His Life and Work on the 250th Anniversary of His Birth. London,: G. Allen & Unwin, 1961.
* Williams, L. Pearce. Michael Faraday, a Biography. New York,: Basic Books, 1965.
* Williams, L. Pearce. "Boscovich, Mako, Davy and Faraday." In R.J. Boscovich; Vita E Attivita Scientifica; His Life and Scientific Work, ed. Piers Bursill-Hall, 587-600. Roma: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1993.