Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Secchi, (Pietro) Angelo

  • Davide Cenadelli
Reference work entry

BornReggio nellEmilia, (Emilia Romagna, Italy), 18 June 1818

DiedRome, Italy, 26 February 1878

A pioneer in the study of the physical characteristics of celestial bodies, Pietro Angelo Secchi, S.J., observed spectra of the stars, classified more than 4,000 of them according to a scheme he devised, and made important studies on the physical constitution of the Sun. His achievements, during the 1860s and 1870s, contributed to the rapid growth of astrophysics as a new way of studying the heavens.

Secchi’s parents, who aimed to give their son an education fit for his quick mind, had him attend the Jesuit Gymnasium in his hometown. He was only 15 when he became a Jesuit novice in Rome. There, he devoted himself to the study of classical literature, philosophy, and the exact sciences. While deeply interested in all fields of knowledge, Secchi soon showed a greater concern for science. From 1841, he taught physics at Loreto College. His scientific interests came to encompass mathematics,...

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Selected References

  1. Abetti, Giorgio (1928). Padre Angelo Secchi, il pioniere del’astrofisica. Milan: Giacomo Agnelli.MATHGoogle Scholar
  2. — (1975). “Secchi, (Pietro) Angelo.” In Dictionary of Scientific Biography, edited by Charles Coulston Gillispie. Vol. 12, pp. 266–270. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  3. Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze (1979). Padre Angelo Secchi nel centenario della morte (1878–1978). Rome: Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze detta dei XL.Google Scholar
  4. Bricarelli, Carlo (1888). “Della vita e delle opere del P. Angelo Secchi.” Pontificia Accademia dei Nuovi Lincei 4: 41–105.MATHGoogle Scholar
  5. Brück, H. A. (1979). “P. Angelo Secchi, S.J., 1818–1878.” Irish Astronomical Journal 14: 9–13.ADSGoogle Scholar
  6. Hearnshaw, J. B. (1986). The Analysis of Starlight: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Astronomical Spectroscopy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. McCarthy, Martin F., S. J. (1950). “Fr. Secchi and Stellar Spectra.” Popular Astronomy 58: 153–169.Google Scholar
  8. Respighi, Lorenzo (1879). “Elogio del P. Angelo Secchi.” Voce della verità: 5–32.Google Scholar
  9. Rigge, William F. (1918). “Father Angelo Secchi.” Popular Astronomy 26: 589–598.ADSGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Davide Cenadelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Fisica – Università degli Studi di MilanoMilanoItaly