Schiaparelli, Giovanni Virgilio

(1835–1910)
   Born at Savigliano in Lombardy, Schiaparelli was an eminent pioneer of astronomy who directed the Brera observatory in Milan from 1862. Learned in Arabic and Sanskrit (which gave him access to those civilizations’studies on the stars), he discovered an asteroid, 69 Hesperia, in April 1861, and geological features on the moon and Mercury are named after him.
   Schiaparelli’s lasting fame, however, derives from a mistaken observation and the mistaken translation into English of his description of this observation. In 1893, he published two papers on the subject of “life on Mars” in which he spoke of having identified canali on the planet’s surface that were probably the “main means” by which water (and with it organic life) was diffused. The word canali was translated into English as “canals” instead of the correct “channels” or “grooves,” and as a result many people sprang to the conclusion that there must be intelligent life on Mars. Schiaparelli’s observations were subsequently shown to be optical illusions, but by then early science fiction writers had done their worst, and the notion of little green men was fixed in the popular imagination.
   The Mars error should not detract from Schiaparelli’s importance in the history of astronomy. Schiaparelli was awarded the Bruce medal in 1902, which has since become the highest honor for astronomy, and was awarded the gold medal of the British Royal Academy. He died in Milan in July 1910.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ernesto Schiaparelli — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Ernesto Schiaparelli nace el 12 de julio de 1856 en Occhieppo Inferior, en la actual Provincia de Biella (entonces Novare), en el Piamonte, y muere el 14 de febrero de 1928 en Turín. Fue un arqueólogo y egiptólogo… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Ernesto Schiaparelli — (July 12, 1856 ndash; 1928) was an Italian Egyptologist, born in Occhieppo Inferiore (Biella), who found Queen Nefertari s tomb in Deir al Madinah in the Valley of the Queens (1904) and excavated the TT8 tomb of the royal architect Kha (1906),… …   Wikipedia

  • List of Italians — This is a list of notable Italians in alphabetical order.cientistsA FAntonio Abetti, astronomer *Maria Gaetana Agnesi, mathematician *Francesco Alberoni, sociologist and journalist *Giuseppe Averani, jurist and naturalist *Amedeo Avogadro (1776… …   Wikipedia

  • List of Milanese people — This is a list of people born in or associated with the city of Milan.*Diego Abatantuono *Claudio Abbado *Maria Gaetana Agnesi *Enrico Annoni *Saint Augustine *Luigi Albertini *Alberto da Giussano *Alboinus *Gino Alemagna *Saint Ambrose *Giorgio… …   Wikipedia

  • Nomenclatura planetaria — Un mapa de la Luna, de la 1ª edición del Andrees Allgemeiner Handatlas (1881), anterior a los convenios de la UAI La nomenclatura planetaria, como la nomenclatura terrestre, es un sistema de identificación único de los accidentes o rasgos (en… …   Wikipedia Español

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.