Person: Righini, Guglielmo
Guglielmo Righini was an Italian astronomer, specializing in the study of the sun. He also wrote on the history of science.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Righini went to Florence where he studied at the technical colleges before entering the University of Florence to study for his doctorate in physics.
- When Righini began work at the Arcetri Observatory, Antonio Abetti (who was in the last year of his life) was a great help and inspiration to the young astronomer.
- After graduating from the University of Florence with his doctorate in 1930, Righini continued working at the Arcetri Observatory.
- Giorgio Abetti was working on solar physics and so it was natural for Righini to also undertake research on this topic.
- Righini was supported financially on this trip to Utrecht by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.
- In 1936 Righini accompanied Giorgio Abetti on an Arcetri Observatory expedition to Russia to observe a total solar eclipse of the sun.
- From observations made during that eclipse Righini was able to propose the hypothesis that the particles forming the solar corona were moving at great speed and concluded that the coronal gas should be at temperatures of the order of millions of degrees.
- Righini was extremely skilful not only in experimental and observational work, but also in the theoretical analysis and interpretation of the results.
- Righini took up these new roles early in 1954.
- One of Righini's first tasks was to organise an expedition to the island of Öland in Sweden to observe the total eclipse on 30 June 1954.
- Several expeditions for observing total eclipses of Sun were organized by Righini.
- In the eclipse of February 15, 1961, when the path of the totality passed over Arcetri, Righini observed the phenomenon aboard a military aircraft, following the shadow of the Moon at high altitude, so to increase, in a perfectly clear sky, the duration of totality.
- In addition to his important research, Righini was also an excellent person to talk about the latest developments in astronomy and was in great demand from the press, radio and television channels to describe these developments at a level which could be understood by the general public.
- The reader of this biography may be wondering why we have included Righini in our History of Mathematics archive.
- There are many astronomers in our archive but they tend to be more on the mathematical side than was Righini.
- Not only the place of long residence was in common between Galileo and Guglielmo Righini; also their interest in applying and devising technological devices to improve astronomical observations and measurements.
- In 1964, for the 400th anniversary of the birth of Galileo, Righini wrote the 118-page work Contributo alla interpretazione scientifica dell'opera astronomica di Galileo Ⓣ(Contribution to scientific interpretation of Galileo's astronomical work).
- This was published in 1978 shortly after Righini's death.
- Thanks to international solidarity and the efforts of Maria Luisa Righini Bonelli, then-director of the Museum, it was possible to quickly carry out recovery of the instruments, reopen the exposition rooms to the public and return energies towards library collecting and research activities.
Born 16 February 1908, Castelfranco Veneto, Italy. Died 29 May 1978, Florence, Italy.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Origin Italy
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive