Giovanni Borelli, Italian mathematician

Giovanni Borelli, Italian mathematician

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Caption: Giovanni Borelli (1608-1679). 1868 illustration of the Italian physiologist, physicist, and mathematician Giovanni Alfonso Borelli. Borelli is best known for applying mathematics to physiology and astronomy. He studied the physiology of animal organs and explained muscular action and the use of bones and joints as levers. He tried to explain the working of internal organs, such as the heart and lungs, but did not take account of the important chemical processes within them. In astronomy, Borelli postulated that Jupiter exerted a gravitational pull on its moons. He also drew attention to Kepler's and Horrocks' observations of elliptical orbits and was the first to suggest that comets trace a parabolic path through the solar system.

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