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Francesco Redi

Francesco Redi

*  1626 Arezzo
† 1698 Pisa

The physician Francesco Redi was born on February 18, 1626, in Arezzo, Italy. Francesco studied at a Jesuit school in Florence and completed his studies in medicine in Pisa in 1647. After much travel within Italy, he began practicing as a doctor in Florence until he was named personal physician and director of the ducal apothecary by Grand Duke Ferdinando in 1666. >From 1657 until 1667, he was a member of the Accademia del Cimento (Academy of Experiment). In 1666, Redi taught the Tuscan language as a "lettore publio di lingua toscana" in Florence and was one of the first members of "Arcadia." He also composed many literary works, including his "Letters", the dithyramb "Bacco in Toscana," and "Arianna Inferma." His most famous poetic work, "Bacco in Toscana," first appeared posthumously and is considered one of the best literary works of the 17th century. Furthermore he was an active member of "Crusca" and supported the preparation of the Tuscan dictionary. During his time in this office, he undertook a great number of experiments in order to improve medical and surgical practices. In 1668, Redi published his scientific masterpiece "Experiments on the Origins of Insects," a milestone in the history of modern science. In this work, he distinguished himself from the traditional research in that he attempted to disprove the theory of abiogenesis (life from inaminate matter) and introduced new methods of experimentation, specifically the method of several attempts changing only one parameter at a time. Francesco Redi died on March 1, 1698, in Pisa.