Antonio Pacinotti

Antonio Pacinotti

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Antonio Pacinotti was an Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 physicist
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

, who was Professor of Physics at the University of Pisa
University of Pisa
The University of Pisa , located in Pisa, Tuscany, is one of the oldest universities in Italy. It was formally founded on September 3, 1343 by an edict of Pope Clement VI, although there had been lectures on law in Pisa since the 11th century...

.

Biography


Pacinotti was born in Pisa
Pisa
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa...

, where he also died. He was the son of Luigi Pacinotti and Caterina Catanti, attended the istituto arcivescovile Santa Caterina, and took part in the second war of Italian independence as sergente volontario. He was a student of Carlo Matteucci
Carlo Matteucci
Carlo Matteucci was an Italian physicist and neurophysiologist who was a pioneer in the study of bioelectricity.-Biography:...

 and graduated in mathematics at Pisa under Riccardo Felici. He was appointed as assistant to the astronomer Giovanni Battista Donati
Giovanni Battista Donati
Giovanni Battista Donati ; 16 December 1826, Pisa, Italy – 20 September 1873, Florence, Italy) was an Italian astronomer.Donati graduated from the university of his native city, Pisa, and afterwards joined the staff of the Observatory of Florence in 1852...

 in 1862, professor at the technological institute of Bologna
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

 in 1864, professor of physics at the University of Cagliari
University of Cagliari
The University of Cagliari is a university located in Cagliari, Italy. It was founded in 1620 and is organized in 11 Faculties.-History:The Studium Generalis Kalaritanum was founded in 1606 along the lines of the old Spanish Universities of Salamanca, Valladolid and Lérida...

 in 1873, and, finally, successor to his father in 1881 in the chair of technological physics at the University of Pisa
University of Pisa
The University of Pisa , located in Pisa, Tuscany, is one of the oldest universities in Italy. It was formally founded on September 3, 1343 by an edict of Pope Clement VI, although there had been lectures on law in Pisa since the 11th century...

. Among his students was Augusto Righi
Augusto Righi
Augusto Righi was an Italian physicist and a pioneer in the study of electromagnetism. He was born and died in Bologna.His early research, conducted in Bologna between 1872 and 1880, was primarily in electrostatics...

.

Scientific studies and invention of the dynamo



He is best known for inventing an improved form of direct-current
Direct current
Direct current is the unidirectional flow of electric charge. Direct current is produced by such sources as batteries, thermocouples, solar cells, and commutator-type electric machines of the dynamo type. Direct current may flow in a conductor such as a wire, but can also flow through...

 electrical generator
Electrical generator
In electricity generation, an electric generator is a device that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy. A generator forces electric charge to flow through an external electrical circuit. It is analogous to a water pump, which causes water to flow...

, or dynamo
Dynamo
- Engineering :* Dynamo, a magnetic device originally used as an electric generator* Dynamo theory, a theory relating to magnetic fields of celestial bodies* Solar dynamo, the physical process that generates the Sun's magnetic field- Software :...

, which he described in a paper published in Il Nuovo Cimento of 1865. It used a ring armature around which was wrapped a coil of wire, to produce a smoother current than that available from previous types of dynamo. He found that the device could also be used as an electric motor
Electric motor
An electric motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.Most electric motors operate through the interaction of magnetic fields and current-carrying conductors to generate force...

.

In July 1862, Pacinotti was one of several independent discoverers of the comet
Comet
A comet is an icy small Solar System body that, when close enough to the Sun, displays a visible coma and sometimes also a tail. These phenomena are both due to the effects of solar radiation and the solar wind upon the nucleus of the comet...

 109P/Swift-Tuttle.

Lungarno Pacinotti, an embankment of the Arno River in Pisa, is named after him.

External links